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LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights : Peace & War

Acclaimed War Casualties Exhibit Comes to Richmond

Boots and Shoes Represent
Virginians and Iraqis Lost in the Iraq War

An exhibit symbolizing U.S. servicemen and women and Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq War will be on display on March 20th and 21st at the Virginia Commonwealth University Student Commons Plaza and on March 24th at the Wal-Mart parking lot on Sheila Lane off Forest Hill Avenue. “Eyes Wide Open Virginia: The Human Cost of the Iraq War? focuses specifically on the costs of war to the Commonwealth. It is being presented as a commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

Tuesday and Wednesday, March 20-21
10am to 6pm
@VCU Student Commons Plaza
Corner of Floyd st. and Cherry st.

Saturday, March 24
10am to 6pm
@Wal-Mart on Forest Hill
2501 Sheila Lane
Community members are invited and encouraged to visit the exhibit. Please come, and spread the word. More location and date details are at the bottom of this email.

“Eyes Wide Open Virginia? includes a simple, respectful display of 90 pairs of boots representing military casualties from Virginia. Each pair of boots bears the name of a soldier, sailor, marine, or reservist killed in the war. The display also includes an array of shoes representing Iraqi civilian deaths, which have been credibly estimated to range from 50,000 to more than a half million. During exhibit hours, the names of Virginia and Iraqi civilian casualties will be read aloud. The goal of the exhibit is to put a human face on the casualties in the Iraq by spotlighting the deaths of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. The Richmond exhibit is co-sponsored by the Richmond Peace Education Center, Richmond Friends Meeting, Midlothian Friends Meeting, Richmond Mennonite Fellowship, and VCU Campus Antiwar Network.

Virginia's “Eyes Wide Open? is modeled on the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) nationally touring exhibit. AFSC, an international social justice organization, created Eyes Wide Open to illustrate the lives lost in the war in Iraq. The national exhibit now includes more than 3,150 pairs of combat boots representing U.S. military casualties, along with over 3,000 pairs of shoes memorializing a small fraction of the Iraqi civilians who have been killed in the conflict. Families of the military casualties have been invited to add to the boots small memorabilia, which now form part of the exhibit. The tour has been to more than 80 communities across the country, including Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, and Orlando. The exhibit was displayed on the Mall in Washington D.C. last Mother’s Day. State versions of Eyes Wide Open have appeared in over 15 states at several locations in each state.

Eyes Wide Open Virginia was first exhibited in Charlottesville by Charlottesville Friends Meeting, the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, and allied groups.

Visitors to the national and Virginia exhibits have found “Eyes Wide Open? to be a moving and even transforming experience. Some have taken it as an antiwar statement; others as a tribute and memorial to fallen heroes. In any case, “Eyes Wide Open? presents, in a personal and profound way, the inescapable wartime reality of lives lost and families wounded.

WHO: Richmond Peace Education Center, Richmond Friends Meeting, Midlothian Friends Meeting, Richmond Mennonite Fellowship, VCU Campus Antiwar Network.
WHAT: “Eyes Wide Open Virginia,? an exhibit illustrating the human cost of the Iraq war.
WHERE AND WHEN: Tuesday and Wednesday March 20-21 at the VCU Student Commons Plaza, between Main Street and Floyd Avenue south of Harrison; Saturday March 24 at the Wal-Mart parking lot, 2501 Sheila Lane off Forest Hill Avenue near Chippenham Pkwy.
TIME: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm each day.
CONTACT: Adria Scharf, Executive Director, Richmond Peace Education Center, 232-1002, scharf (at) rpec.org, or Betsy Brinson, a member of Richmond Friends Meeting and the Richmond Peace Education Center, 353-1711, brinson422 (at) comcast.net.

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