59 hours and counting...

Just three days! Three days until thousands, dressed in white, will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., coming together in solidarity to create a visible petition against the ongoing atrocities being committed in Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burma, Somalia and Syria. It’s been an incredible journey, bringing together thousands of participants around the world to utilize the power of a striking visual statement, the bone, as a tool to educate, engage and inspire action.

Over the last several months, we’ve been based in both Albuquerque and D.C., applying for permits, securing event equipment, recruiting volunteers, publicizing the event, and coordinating boxes and boxes of bones from across the country to be transported to the National Mall. This week, we’ll be honest, it’s been a mix of utter chaos and anticipation as we’ve been working to pull this off! 

Yesterday, our friends at UPS picked up nearly 200 boxes from one of our storage locations in D.C., after loading up another 48,000 bones last week. We couldn’t be more grateful for their help during past few weeks, visiting each hub, meeting with the State Coordinators and volunteers who organized storage and making the entire process seamless. What seemed like endless number-crunching and unique logistical obstacles were welcomed by our fearless shipping heroes and it was so lovely to see pictures and hear stories from each unique pick-up location. There’s something beautiful about imagining those bones traveling thousands of miles, carefully packed, all headed for the same place, brought together to build something so much larger than themselves. 

It’s going to be quite a culmination come Saturday. Hours spent by individuals and communities crafting, packing and sending their handmade bones off to join others, each representing a voice, a story to be shared on the National Mall. We’ve been shocked to see how many members of the OMB family are traveling to D.C. to lay down their bones in person.  Some have been with the project since its inception, many from our home state of New Mexico, and have watched One Million Bones evolve from an idea into an international social arts practice. It will also be the first time we’ve actually met many of our most dedicated volunteers, coordinators and supporters from all corners of the country…we’re both excited and grateful for the chance to thank them all in person! 

We’ll also be welcoming the Students Rebuild On Tour team in D.C. after they’ve spent months on the road, visiting schools and community events, challenging those they met to make bones for hope and healing, resulting in thousands made for the National Mall installation. They’ll be parking their interactive trailer on the Mall for everyone to check out! 

If only every participant, every set of hands that crafted a bone, could join us on June 8, to physically lay the bones they made to rest. But we know that so many will be with us in spirit and it is truly a privilege to lay down bones in their name. We encourage anyone at home to tune in for our live stream on June 8 and 9 for a chance to virtually witness the bone-laying and listen to our speaker program and evening candlelight vigil.

We can’t wait to create this visible petition for all to see, to reflect on the visual that we create and what it represents to each of us, to listen to our speakers share the experiences that brought them here, to educate with workshops led by experts and activists, to advocate on Capitol Hill for a real change in foreign policy, and most importantly, to recognize the collective effort that carried this movement and the reality the bones represent.




Speaker Announcement! 

We are proud to announce that Dr. Mukesh Kapila will be joining us as a speaker on Saturday, June 8, 2013! 



Dr. Kapila is best known as the whistle blower on the genocide in Sudan. In 2003, he was the head of the United Nations in Sudan, where he was receiving information on a daily basis about the horrific crimes being committed. Alarmed and angered that officials were not paying attention or taking action, he knew he had to do something drastic. Dr. Kapila refused to be a bystander and decided to go to the media to let the world know what was going on in Sudan, knowing full well that this action would probably cost him his career. On a live television interview, he referred to Darfur as “the greatest scandal and tragedy of our time” and accused the Sudanese government of “ethnic cleansing on an inconceivably vast scale”.  He soon afterward resigned from the United Nations and continues today to raise awareness of ongoing genocide and mass atrocities. He is a Special Representative on Crimes Against Humanity at Aegis Trust and a Professor at the University of Manchester. Watch this amazing short, three-minute video of Dr. Kapila’s journey and be sure to watch him speak at the National Mall installation on June 8, 2013.


We are also so excited to announce Eva Kor as a speaker for Sunday's Candlelight Vigil!

Eva Mozes Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust, a forgiveness advocate, and a revered public speaker. Powered by a never-give-up attitude, Eva has emerged through a life filled with trauma as a brilliant example of the power of the human spirit to overcome. She is a community leader, a champion of human rights, and tireless educator of young people.

In 1944, Eva and her family were loaded into a cattle car packed with other Jewish prisoners and transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Eva and her twin sister Miriam were just 10 years old. At Auschwitz, the girls were ripped apart from their mother, father and two older sisters, never to see any of them ever again. Eva and Miriam became part of a group of children used as human guinea pigs in genetic experiments, under the direction of the now-infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. Approximately 1,500 sets of twins were abused, and most died as a result of these experiments. Eva herself became gravely ill, but through sheer determination, she stayed alive and helped Miriam survive. Approximately 200 children were found alive by the Soviet Army at the liberation of the camp on January 27, 1945. The majority of the children were Mengele twins. Eva and Miriam Mozes were among them.

In 1995, Eva opened CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a mission to prevent prejudice and hatred through education about the Holocaust. Thousands of people, including many school groups, have visited CANDLES since it opened. In 2003, the museum was destroyed by a hate-filled arsonist. Eva vowed to rebuild, and with the help of a generous public outpouring of support, the museum was rebuilt and reopened in 2005.

Eva has delivered her message all over the world, including several times in Germany, Israel, and Poland, and was a featured speaker at the 10th anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Her story is documented in the award-winning film Forgiving Dr. Mengele and the popular young adult book Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz. Eva is an advocate for genocide prevention, having organized and participated in multiple projects dedicated to ending the genocide in Darfur and commemorating the Rwandan genocide. She has worked with fellow forgiveness advocate Kizito Kalima, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide and founder of the Amahoro Peace Project in Indianapolis, Ind.


Updates on the DRC

It's certainly been an exciting few weeks following all of the news surrounding the DRC. There is a lot of momentum and we hope that this surge of interest and action continues as we move towards the National Mall installation, June 8-10, 2013, and advocate on Capitol Hill with our partners at the Enough Project! Take a moment to check out what's been going on:

-On March 18, notorious Congolese warlord Bosco "The Terminator" Ntaganda, co-commander of the M23 rebel group, turned himself in to the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda, seven years after an indictment from the International Criminal Court. Read what Sasha Lezhnev, senior policy analyst at the Enough Project, thinks this means moving forward here.

-Former Irish president Mary Robinson was announced as the new U.N. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa, and will be focused on supporting the implementation of the recently signed Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

-Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced a resolution in the House on March 21, 2013 calling for increased efforts by Members of Congress, the Administration and the international community to work towards achieving long-term peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Read the full text of H.Res. 131 here.

-The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to send a special peacekeeping brigade to the DRC to battle rebel groups in the eastern region. The "intervention brigade" of 2,500 is unprecendented in its offensive nature and will join the larger MONUSCO mission, extended until March 2014, in the DRC.

-Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, announced an agreement signed by Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon on March 30 to address the rampant sexual violence rates in the DRC, following a ten-day trip. Committments in the agreement include fighting impunity for such crimes, offering support services for surviviors, ensuring better control over mineral resources, and working with the state, NGOs, and donors to prevent future gender-based violence, among others.


Music and Bone Making for Incredible Impact

Our NYC coordinator, Monic Cohen, created an event in NY in late February that was, by all accounts, a most marvelous evening. Here's a video for you, and Monica shared a little about her feelings about the night below.

A Night of Bones and Music from Monica Cohen on Vimeo.

On February 28, 2013, One Million Bones partnered with 29Salon to offer a night of art activism and music. The event intended to create an community atmosphere of consciousness, connection, and deep meaning through art. While listening to music, participants were asked to make bones with clay and reflect on several survivor testimonies read before each performance.

29Salon is a monthly music and reading series that takes place at Sweet 180 in New York City, where artists perform, share and collaborate in an intimate setting. I curated the event and put together two incredible bands: Lisa Jaeggi <>  and T.H.E.M <>.  We were happy to see 40 people attend this event, and were impacted and changed by the experience. I realized that night that sometimes it is not about the number of bones we craft that makes an experience successful, but it is the ability to transmit the message that the bones can convey. 

The outcome was a wonderful combination of two profound experiences: watching a live performance of beautiful music while taking part in a physical and mindful act of humanitarianism. 


One Million Bones Speaker Announcement

We couldn't be more excited to share the news that Neema Namadamu will be joining us from the Democratic Republic of Congo and will be speaking at the One Million Bones installation.  

We first heard about Neema by way of an organization called Maman Shujaa of Congo, but as we read about her, we learned that was just the very tip of her story.  This link will take you to her bio on the WorldPulse site, and this is a link to an interview with her.

Interestingly, Neema has many connections in Santa Fe (right in One Million Bones' backyard), and this is a link to a radio interview she did with SantaFeRadioCafe. You'll want to scroll down to September 12, 2012.

We hope, hope, hope you can join Neema and all the rest of us on the National Mall, on Saturday, June 8th. It's really not too early (or too late) to make travel plans.  We even have a webpage to help with that!