From Indonesia, the Peace Tree and the Making of History

This story comes from one of our newest Peace Catalyst staff members, Jaime Harris, who has been living and making peace in Indonesia for 20 years through education, serving the poor, organizing interfaith events, and more.

It started as we painted a bare tree and had our Peace Generation volunteers add their thumbprints in paint as their pledge for peace. We then took it downtown to the riverside, where young people hang out on Sunday morning, and we invited everyone who supports peace to add their thumbprints. We also had various peace cards with phrases that people could take photos of themselves with. The photo above is from the riverside event, and the card reads, "Peace Begins with Us."

We put the tree on display, and now it resides in our cafe, where customers can continually add to it.

Interestingly, the tree is displayed next to paintings of famous peacemakers, and one Muslim friend shared that in Arabic, the word for "tree" is similar to the Indonesian word for "history." He challenged us to look at the history-makers displayed, then look at our thumbprints on the tree and realize that we are part of the great "tree of history" and that we also are joining with them in changing the history written about us.