Metallic, sparkly and multicolor eight-point stars littered the tables of the Collins LLC Coffeehouse Tuesday night as students weaved the stars in collaboration with the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation.
The Collins Philanthropy Council organized the star-weaving workshop to foster community at Collins and to benefit Lotus’s year-long project, One Million Stars To End Violence.
The project works with other organizations around the world to raise awareness of interpersonal violence.
The overall goal is to eventually display one million woven stars at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, according to the Lotus website.
Lotus hopes to make 10,000 of the total one million eight-pointed stars by Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
They plan to display them at an exhibit in December at Bloomington City Hall before sending them to Australia.
Currently, they have collected about 8,200 stars, Lotus outreach director Loraine Martin said.
“The one great part of this workshop is that you get to interact with someone face to face because you have to have someone teach you how to make the stars, and then you can teach someone else,” director of philanthropy at Collins Emma Percival said. “It’s a great way to get connected.”
Only about fifteen people drifted through the Coffeehouse to make stars, though Percival said she did not expect many to attend.
The ones who did come, she said, were mostly active members of the project.
“The people who have come have been really enthusiastic about it, they’ve been asking a lot of questions and being really engaged in general,” she said. “It plays into the community building part of the project.”
The One Million Stars To End Violence project started in 2012 after the rape and murder of an Australian woman, according to the One Million Stars to End Violence website.
The project’s long term goal, besides the Commonwealth Games display, is to foster community and encourage people to engage with and protect their fellow citizens in every potentially dangerous situation..
“It started with violence against women, but it’s really about how we all need to make peace and safe places,” Martin said. “It’s a stand against all forms of violence. It’s a great way for people to see the beauty we can create when we come together and stand for something.”
Percival had a more individualist hope for the project.
She said she hoped Collins residents took the opportunity to get to know each other by participating in the event.
“I’m hoping that people get a better understanding of the project as a whole, and I hope that they have a better opportunity to connect to people in Collins through this common effort to stop violence,” she said.
Martin said Lotus was the second group in the United States to sign up for the project and has worked with more than 50 groups in Bloomington to make stars for the project.
She also said Lotus will be having more public events in Bloomington in late December and early January for the final push to get to 10,000 stars.
“As an organization, Lotus is doing a great job of interacting with the community,” said Percival. “They know how to do community building, and I’m glad we’ve been able to be a part of that.”