The Peace Flyers
The priority boxes have legs, including their adoption, and sometimes adaptation, by several schoolrooms at various grade levels.
One instance led to the "Peace Flyers Project," launched in January. An educator in Juarez, Mexico, contacted him after receiving a box and asked whether Mr. de Las Mercedes would consider designing a project that would help to address the drug cartel violence in his area. The district is very poor and the artist went for basics. "All you need is a computer and a printer."
He designed a flier based on those that advertise services on countless community bulletin boards. Under the words "Free, Take One," and a peace sign and heart symbol, he quotes author Robert Fulghum: "Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do; Something you are, And something you give away." At the bottom are little tear tabs that read "peace, love, hope." He invites individuals to "Post them at your school, work, street corner and especially in places where conflict has or is taking place."
"You're challenging people to become an activist in their own communities. You're offering a moment of peace, of hope."
"Everything I've learned from the boxes has been from people when they receive them," Mr. de Las Mercedes said. "There is a collective need to be taken into consideration. To be loved. For someone to know that you're there. We want peace. We want love. We want hope. And we aspire to do better, we aspire to a better world.
Mary Thomas - Art Critic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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