It’s easy to be inspired by those who are making a difference. But sometimes it’s hard to see what our contribution to the world will be. After all, when things look so grim, where do we even begin? The truth is that often the best way to start is just by, well, starting.
When Samoan-born artist Maryann Talia Pau was overcome by her local community’s outpouring of grief and support after the rape and murder of Jill Meagher in 2012, she at first didn’t know quite how to respond. But a quote poking its head out from between flowers at a vigil for Jill stirred something in her. It was Martin Luther King Jr:
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
So Maryann started doing what she knew how to do: weaving.
Two years before, Maryann had co-founded the Pacific Women’s Weaving Circle as a place for Pacific Islander women to feel safe, empowered and strong. Now she started weaving stars to fight against the tide of violence, particularly against women.
“I felt we needed more light in this time of sadness and darkness,” Maryann tells Dumbo Feather. “I imagined the night sky being so bright from the light of a gazillion stars that everyone would be able to return to the safety of their homes and loved ones.”
That’s why Maryann started the project 1 Million Stars to End Violence.
To help her get to her goal of 1 million stars by 2018, she began enlisting the community, holding free workshops where people would come together to make stars and support those around the world who are victims of violence. She hopes people leave group weaving sessions with the feeling that anything is possible, “that no matter how epic or unrealistic some goals and aspirations are, it all begins with hope, courage and a tiny bit of effort.”