Connecting Peace Day and Valentine's Day
Valentine Peace Project (VPP) Community Valentine actions started on the streets of Los Angeles with the sharing of thousands of poems on peace and expressions of love given out wrapped around carnations and later Fairtrade roses. Students also made paper flowers to give out with their own written reflections or submissions selected from Valentinepeaceproject.org.
Participants have shared on or around Valentine's Day in Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US with consistent participants in LA, Amsterdam and Swansea (Wales) giving out thoughts on peace with tulips, daffodils or roses. In 2012 at the Southbank Centre in London hundreds of Zimbabwe Fairtrade roses were distributed with participant schoolchildren's poems as part of the Imagine Festival.
Resources at the website link to varied peace educational templates created by Dutch and American peace educators.
The Project has given out flowers with original poems around the International Day of Peace in September with the United Network of Young Peacebuilders (UNOY) in The Hague. For the first time in 2012 the VPP sold bulbs of peace tulip breeds created in the Netherlands with partial proceeds to London's Peace Direct and Peace Mala in Wales whose members developed a peace garden as part of their 10 year anniversary working on religious unity through youth.
Some VPP participants have given out Valentine Peace wishes on streets and cafes for almost five years (such as the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic in Silver Lake, Los Angeles). The VPP evolves from community project to non-profit to social enterprise working to build creative peace flower products – Dutch peace tulips and Fairtrade roses as well as flowers from conflict areas – Northern Uganda (roses) and Gaza (carnations). Most 'consumers' do not track where purchased flowers are from and illuminating the source via a message or poem from the farming community generates not only more transparent supply chains but universal desires of human community and unity. Valentinepeaceproject.org