Yesterday I joined a group of my fellow One Million Bones volunteers in preparation for our official launch party. The focus of the event was one giant bone making party, of course!
Two hours before the event was to begin, twenty of us ran around the Harwood Art Center, a community arts organization in downtown Albuquerque, prepping for the crowds. We streamlined our bone making tutorials, shredded newspaper for paper mache construction, ran last minute checks on our website and slideshow, and sorted through our One Million Bone teeshirts (straight off the press). It's a good thing there were so many of us prepping, because at 3:45 (15 minutes before our event was to begin) the people started pouring in. And what did they do? They bee lined for our bone making stations. The fifty seats we'd set out were far too inadequate to handle all the eager sculptors and we quickly set out finding more tables and chairs.
It was tremendous to see all of these people working together, flipping through anatomy books and helping one another build bones. I recognized approximately 20 of the hundred + attendees, but the rest of the folks were strangers. Did they hear about the event through some of the other volunteers? Did their friends drag them along? Are they Facebook fans? The important thing is that they came.
They came because they were curious, because they're involved in the anti-genocide movement, because their ancestors suffered through genocides, and because they believe in the power of One Million Bones. They came because our message reached them.
So what's next? Well, we gathered bones, donations, email addresses and volunteer interests from nearly everyone in attendance. Now, twenty-four hours later, it's time to keep that momentum rolling. Our launch in Albuquerque, NM is purely a consequence of geography. The project founder, Naomi Natale, lives here and consequently this is where One Million Bones's base is building. However, Naomi is also a Senior TED Fellow, and so frequently travels to conferences around the country networking with other innovative and inspired people. Through her new contacts and through our ever expanding networks, we are developing hubs of activity all around the country and across the globe.
We have a huge journey ahead of us - amassing bones and $5.00 donations from 1,000,000 people by the spring of 2013. If that feels like a long way away, consider this: three years equals approximately 1,000 days, which means that we have 1,000 days to gather 1,000,000 bones. The average number of bones that need to be made each day? One thousand. (!!!)
Does this goal feel overwhelming? Absolutely. But after yesterday's launch I understand how we'll get to those numbers. We tell our friends and they tell their's. We find people who've never felt comfortable with using their political voice and show them that activism is accessible, creative, and powerful. We reach out and ride the power of the internet and social media.. We dig in and we get busy! After all, it's not every day that someone approaches you with a concept with this much potential: We have a chance to gather the voices necessary to put an end to genocide. Who's coming?
One Million Bones volunteer