Monday, October 2, 2017

10.02.17 The White Rose

Perhaps it was inevitable (given my 30 year career in and around government) that policy and politics would find their way into my jewelry blog - that has certainly been the case over the past few months.  Since January, the world has become a different place - and not (in my humble opinion) for the better. The events of this year have had an impact on me, my blog and my jewelry.

Pearl earrings - Rehoboth Art League
I've written about the importance of art in troubled times, the Women's March, and most recently Charlottesville. When I was finally able to return to the studio (after vacation then hurricane Harvey) it felt like therapy...and I decided that the first piece I made would be for me (in part because if I made mistakes because I was out of practice, it wouldn't matter).

I knew exactly which stone I wanted to use. I won a lovely piece of white Howlite in a raffle, and wanted to create a pendant that would go well with the earrings I bought while I was on vacation.
I started thinking about what to put on the back of the pendant, and decided that a rose bud template I hadn't used yet would be perfect. Not only did the design echo the earrings - but I could wear it as a way to remind myself of the importance of daily resistance in the face of hate and injustice.

You see, during Hilter's rise to power there was a group of student resisters who called themselves the "White Rose Movement". Although it certainly was not their original intent, they sacrificed their lives standing up for for the rights and dignity of others.

As a soldier on the eastern front, Hans Scholl had seen firsthand the mistreatment of Jews working as forced labor for German army, and heard of the deportation of others to concentration camps.

When he returned to Munich as a medical student Hans, along with his sister Sophie and fellow students Christoph Probst, Willi Graf, and Alexander Schmorell, founded the movement to speak out against the rise of the Nazi party.  The students secretly distributed leaflets that encouraged others to object to the war - but were turned in to the Gestapo by a member of the university community - and subsequently executed.

As Americans, we like to think (and say) "it could never happen here" - but in fact - it did, when more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in camps during WWII...and it could happen again.  Proposals to ban Muslims or deport young people who were brought to this country as children sound just a little too much like rounding up people simply because they are different.

History can be ugly and painful - but it is also full of examples of individuals who chose not to look the other way, not to be silent, and to do these things as considerable personal risk.  These good people - ordinary people doing extraordinary things - walk among us every day.  I want to be one of them - and on the days when that is hard, I will wear this necklace.

Until next time.

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