A small socially distant group gathered at Alice’s Garden Urban Farm in Milwaukee when the blacksmith Fred Martin took a piece of red-hot steel from the forge and placed it on an anvil. Then he hit the piece of metal, a shard from a gun barrel. Others took turns hammering and jointly turning weapons into garden tools.
“Literally in an hour we are going from a tool that is supposed to bring life to life to a tool that is supposed to give life,” said activist Shane Claiborne, one of the organizers of the afternoon at which “Jesus and Justice”, a non-partisan one Event, brought together to raise awareness of gun violence and pressing social justice issues.
The forge Fred Martin and son Mike are the founders of RAWtools, a grassroots initiative whose mission it is “Disarm hearts and forge peace” by turning weapons into garden tools.
RAWtools is inspired by the Hebrew Bible, as the prophet Isaiah said, who spoke of “turning swords into plowshares and spears into cutting hooks”. Over the course of an afternoon, they turn guns into mattocks – simple, pimple-like garden tools.
Fred Martin from RAWtools.
But they don’t believe that just making tools out of weapons is enough. You will work with communities to find new ways to resolve conflict through relationship, dialogue, and alternative means of justice. Her non-violent workshops deal with theory and practice and use role play techniques.
The Sword to Plow program offers a free garden tool for a gun. Through his Deactivate networkRAWtools enables connections between gun owners and others who have the knowledge, resources, and safe spaces to legally destroy guns, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Guidelines.
Arises from the scripture Micah 4: 4, “… Everyone will sit under his own vine and his own fig tree, and no one will scare them,The initiative’s Vine and Fig program encourages people to look inward and address the triggers, such as fear and hate, that lead to violence.
“By using guns to make gardening tools and other hand tools, we are creating a symbol of change and asking you to participate,” the Martins explain on their website. “We ask our communities to dare to use our imaginations to change our impulse. The striking of swords in plowshares, spears in cutting hooks and weapons in gardening tools dynamically shift our investments in time and resources. What else would we do if we stopped training for war? That doesn’t mean we should all become gardeners, but it does mean we can invest in providing life-sustaining resources to our communities. “
Storytelling is an integral part of the Martins’ endeavors. RAWtools collects “Stories about great transformations and the deep trauma of grief and loss”. Owners can bring in an online representation of their tool’s new purpose, a story of peace over violence carried over with the new tool.
The two Christian activists Michael Martin and Claiborne wrote together Striking Arms: Hope for People Tired of Violence, A book that cites alarming statistics and case studies to document the ubiquitous threat that weapons pose to civil society.
Claiborne is a co-founder of Red Letter Christians, a movement of evangelical Christians that does not accept the current conservative policies they believe in, has reconciled white evangelicalism with Trump’s Republican Party. Its mission is not “to create a religious left movement to challenge the religious right, but to start a religious movement that goes beyond partisan politics”.
He is a longtime critic of white evangelical support for unrestricted gun ownership and the death penalty “despite having an executed and risen Savior”. Clairborne was arrested for protesting in the Supreme Court and wrote a book of biblical and theological arguments against the death penalty.
His efforts extend to organizing the political opposition to Trump, whose policies resulted in around 80% of white evangelical voters casting their votes for the president in 2016. Claiborne believes politicians have failed to hold the president accountable and have failed to address social justice issues such as systemic racism, poverty, police brutality and gun violence.
“If our Christianity doesn’t include accepting immigrants, we shouldn’t call it Christianity,” he said Urban Milwaukee. “If it’s not about ensuring that the poor receive medical care and the hungry are fed, we shouldn’t call it Christianity. And I think what happened is a version of American nationalism called Christianity – but it doesn’t look very much like Jesus at all. “
A RAWtools mat, a hoe on one side and a fork on the other, is about 5 inches of a gun barrel.
Gun violence isn’t the only form of violence affecting people’s lives, Claiborne says, referring to Oxfam’s 2018 report that 26 billionaires have fortunes as much as 3.8 billion people, half the world’s population. He lists these differences in wealth “political violence ”, a term of Campaign of the Poor used to describe the negative impact of legislative decisions on people living in poverty. “We think of the children who are separated from their families, children and families in detention centers. So We call all these forms of violence today. And the weapon is just a symbol of this violence and suffering that we want to see transformed. “
New Mexicans gardening tools to prevent Guns to Gardens gun buyback program. About NMPGV.
Like RAWtools, Weapons to gardens, A grassroots initiative launched by New Mexicans in 2013 to prevent gun violence. She is working with local law enforcement to buy back guns and convert them into usable art and gardening tools.
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