This Saturday, students at Robert F. Kennedy Middle School are holding an gardening event with shovels forged from dismantled guns by Mexican Artist Pedro Reyes and RFK High School students to honor lives lost to gun violence in both Mexico and New Mexico. Students will have a live demonstration of forging dismantled guns into gardening tools from the recent Guns To Gardens Buyback event in Albuquerque. The public is invited to participate in the tree planting portion of the event.
“It feels good that we took the guns off the street making sure that they will never shoot again and will never hurt anyone again.” Devin Quintana RFK Charter High School Student.
Removing unwanted guns at community buyback events and then engaging with students to create art and tools from the dismantled guns is one of many programs that the local organization, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence implements to address the multi-faceted problem of gun violence.
“Giving our youth an opportunity to turn an object that kills into an object that sustains life sends a clear message of non-violence in their community,” says Miranda Viscoli, Co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.
In 2006, Mexican artist, Pedro Reyes started a campaign Palas por Pistolas through a series of ads made for local Mexican television stations, calling for community members to voluntarily donate their guns. Through this campaign, Reyes received a total of 1.527 weapons, which were melted down to make the same number of shovels. The shovels, in turn, were distributed to public schools and museums., where children and adults alike contributed to the project of planting over 1,527 trees. On Saturday, one of those shovels will be used in the tree planting event. According to Reyes, the transformative essence of this project is “to take an instrument of death and turn it into an instrument of life.”
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