City Councilman Paul Koretz announced Tuesday a coalition of Los Angeles-area community leaders who will oversee the creation and installation of peace-themed monuments made entirely of seized and repossessed firearms.
The Peace Angels Monuments will be designed by artist Lin Evola, who started the Peace Angels Project more than 25 years ago. The installations are intended to deter people from engaging in gun violence.
“People are frightened. I have a staff member whose teenage son told his mom that he would rather have a bulletproof backpack than the computer he was hoping for,” Koretz said. “While my colleagues and I have pushed against the gun lobby, there are those building a different kind of activism to recognize the loss and help build hope.”
The largest monument will be 64 feet tall and placed in downtown Los Angeles. Another 12 monuments, which will be designed to reflect local culture, will be placed throughout the city and will stand 11 feet tall. Only weapons seized in the city of Los Angeles will used for the smaller, cultural monuments.
“I know the power of art. I know the responsibility of what art is, and it has an amazing, remarkable power to change people’s hearts,” Evola said. “You look at any great art … and you will see how it marked that time period in humanity, and you will see the message going forward.”
The coalition created to oversee the project includes Koretz; Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva; Steve Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Assessor’s office; Fabian Garcia, the director of government affairs for Homeboy Industries; and Tess Cacciatore, the founder of the Global Women’s Empowerment Network.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department donated thousands of confiscated weapons to be used by the Peace Angels Project to create the downtown monument. According to project officials, more than five tons of weapons have been donated to the Peace Angles Project by the sheriff’s department over the past two years.
The organization’s goal is to collect 1 million weapons, including handguns, rifles and automatic weapons.
Evola said she is still looking at locations for the monuments, which are being funded by private donors.
The artist also created the 13-foot Renaissance Peace Angel sculpture, which is part of a permanent collection at the National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York and has been on display at the museum since 2018.
Peace Angels Project organizers are also planning to install peace monuments in New York and San Francisco. Each custom-designed monument will stand atop a 100-foot-by-100-foot labyrinth with a narrative about the site on which the monument sits.
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