Bruce Wallace and Nesreen ( her last name is omitted for her safety) will be speaking on Staten Island Tuesday, Aug 7 at the Eyes Wide Open Exhibit.
Nesreen lives in Baghdad, Iraq and is visiting the U.S. this summer for a speaking tour. She is an English teacher who has linked her students with their counterparts (Bruce's students) in Brooklyn, New York through the One-to-One Contact Program. This email exchange has provided the participants with both
1) a chance to tell their stories, which helps them heal from the effects of prolonged trauma, and
2) a means of learning that although they are very different, they are also very much the same—young people across the world in search of peaceful, successful, and stable lives.
Bruce Wallace is a member of Peaceful Tomorrows and is the director of the One-to-One Contact Program which has been connecting students and teachers in Baghdad and New York City for four years. A witness to the events of Ground Zero on 9/11, his work for peace is dedicated to his nephew, Supreme Court Officer Mitch Wallace, an innocent victim of political violence who died while rescuing people at Ground Zero.
Eyes Wide Open, the American Friends Service Committee's exhibition on the human cost of the Iraq War, features a pair of boots honoring each U.S. military casualty, a field of shoes and a Wall of Remembrance to memorialize the Iraqis killed in the conflict, and a multimedia display exploring the history, cost and consequences of the war.
As the exhibit makes its appearances across the country, families and friends come to grieve for lost loved ones and strangers honor those who gave their lives to a cause far from home. At each stop, person after person leaves notes of commemoration, photographs of lost soldiers, identification tags, flowers, and American flags to accompany the boots on their journey.
Although a majority of Americans now believe this war is a tragic misadventure, the human cost of the Iraq War grows every day. How many more boots will be standing at silent attention before this war ends, before Iraqis and American soldiers are out of harm's way? This traveling exhibit is a memorial to those who have fallen and a witness to our belief that no war can justify its human cost.
In loving kindness,
Bruce & Nesreen
I thought you might be interested in this event. I think it is a testament that art can have the power to change lives - and open eyes. And I believe that we as artists have a responsibility to use our art wisely.