taking the words of Jesus seriously

Guns to Garden Tools Livestream Blacksmith Marathon
in Remembrance of Over 44,000 Individuals Lost to Gun Violence in 2022

Throughout Gun Violence Awareness Month, RAWtools and its collective network of blacksmiths and makers across the country will hold a blacksmithing marathon totaling over 44,000 minutes of labor in remembrance of over 44,000 individuals lost to gun violence in the United States in 2022. Dismantled gun parts will be transformed into garden tools, art, and jewelry. The livestream event, accessible at www.rawtools.org/live, began on May 31 at 11:00 AM (Mountain Standard Time) and will run until June 30.

“Our growing network of dozens of blacksmiths and makers working 44,000+ minutes in the month of June is a representation of the exponentially larger community of people who care deeply about the impact of gun violence in our nation,” said Mike Martin, Executive Director of RAWtools. “We want to transform objects that take life into objects that cultivate life. We want to put our thoughts and prayers into action.”

RAWtool’s mission is to Disarm Hearts, Forge Peace, and Cultivate Justice. Since Sandy Hook, RAWtools has developed a national network of volunteers that help disable unwanted firearms in order to turn them into garden tools, art, and other life-giving objects. The network has grown to include blacksmiths and makers from across the country who will be contributing to the 44,000+ minutes that represent each life lost to gun violence in 2022 according to the Gun Violence Archive. This network has dedicated hundreds of hours to putting their thoughts and prayers into action.

Through this national network, there will be a collective of at least one blacksmith or artist making a tool, jewelry, or piece of art during each day of June. The materials the blacksmiths are working with are all part of firearms that have all been surrendered at safe surrender sites or have been donated by people wanting to get rid of their firearms. All items made will be sold to support RAWtools and its affiliates.

About RAWtools: in February of 2023, RAWtools celebrated its tenth anniversary of working to disarm hearts, forge peace, and cultivate justice. Based in Colorado Springs, CO, RAWtools is a 501(c)3 tax exempt nonprofit organization working through a restorative lens to equip neighborhoods to exchange tools of violence for skills that include: bystander intervention, mediation, de-escalation, restorative/transformative justice, and other nonviolent conflict resolution skills. The epidemic of gun violence in the United States needs a comprehensive effort with complex solutions to address a complex problem. RAWtools transforms weapons into items that cultivate life and invites all to participate in using their imaginations to cultivate neighborhoods where we welcome each other with open arms instead of bearing arms.

Over the past ten years, RAWtools has helped decommission thousands of unwanted firearms with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Our events center on those who have been impacted by gun violence by inviting them to tell their story and be a part of making a garden tool out of a decommissioned firearm. Their stories have impacted thousands of lives and been an integral part of forming the national Guns to Gardens movement (gunstogardens.org) and other partnerships across the country.

Quotes from those engaged with RAWtools:

“I’ve never been a part of something that has helped me deal with the anger from my loss like turning a gun into a garden tool.” – Gun Violence Survivor

“I’m tired of writing my elected representative.” – RAWtools volunteer

“I needed to do something with my hands. I needed to take action” – RAWtools Blacksmith<

To find out more visit rawtools.org.

Where: Streamed online at rawtools.org from locations across the United States.

How to connect and support the RAWtools 44k:

-Watch at https://rawtools.org and https://rawtools.org/live

-Join our disarming network at https://rawtools.org/swords-to-plowshares/

-Donate unwanted firearms at https://rawtools.org/donate-a-gun/

-Donate financially – $1 for every minute, at https://rawtools.org/donation/

-Join our blacksmithing network: email [email protected]

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