If the stars could speak
Photo: Michelle Xen for Museum of Brisbane.
Over the years, we’ve received and heard some touching stories from star weavers around the world. Sometimes it’s a note with the stars sent in, or a story I've heard when running/attending a star weave jam. I know many of you have heard moving stories or witnessed extraordinary behaviour from star weavers in your community too. I'm confident that many have cried, like me, and unashamedly, because there are no words that we could have said to inspire people to dive in and create and be part of something bigger.
One of the strengths of this movement, is that we can have different values, view points and politics and be located in opposite ends of the globe, yet the stars make it possible for us to find a connection. The stars bring us together for a common purpose. To see an end to violence and more peace. My hope is that people feel welcome to share (or not share) their story and find common ground though weaving and often in silence.
Pictures of our stars and smiling faces triumphant from overcoming a tricky weave, will forever bring me joy and a sense of belonging. If I could be a fly on the wall and hear all the laughter, and witness all the tears and frustration, and record some of the moving conversations people have had over their dining table weaving stars, we would have some pretty powerful stories.
I wanted to share 2 stories which have stayed with me for a long time. I often share these stories, with permission, because they remind me why this movement is so special and why what we have achieved together is not only unheard of and record breaking, but it is life changing and life creating.
When I visited star weavers in Ballarat in 2016, we met underneath their installation of 25,000 stars at Wendouree Stocklands, Victoria. They wove over 40,000 stars and worked with local schools, family violence support centres, Police, businesses and galleries to reach this goal. During our conversations over coffee (and tears) a cleaner recognised me and shared a story of her experience with the stars. I remember she told me that she loved coming to work because of the stars and she hoped they never came down, because it made her work as a cleaner, a joy. One day while at work, she saw an older man lift up a child to stand on the bins that stood in the centre of the food court. The child lloked like his grandson and he seemed to want to touch the stars. Concerned, the cleaner raced over to tell the gentleman and the child to be careful and proceeded to tell the man about the One Million Stars project and what the stars mean. He turned to her and introduced himself. His name is John Siermans. His family wove the purple stars for their daughter, Sharon Siermans who was murdered by Jason Dinsley. John was lifting his grandson, Aron, Sharon’s son, because he wanted to touch his mum. Aron “regularly points to her at night time – “the brightest star in the sky.” The Courier, Dec 2013.
In March 2017, the One Million Stars project partnered with the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence in schools. Schools were invited to register their communities and run star weave jams with their students. The response was outstanding. One parent wrote in to tell us how her son came across the project at his school. He was on the verge of being expelled and after weaving stars for the project, was able to find a way to re-engage in his school community. The stars helped him to make a change in himself, to find a way to communicate and behave differently as a student and peer. I often hear from parents and teachers about how focussed and engaged their children become when they begin to weave stars. They are amazed. Everyone wins!
When we see one million stars together in 2 weeks, we will be able to imagine all of the stories and people that have gathered to weave for more love and less fear. We will be able to imagine the voices of every star weaver, their dreams and aspirations for a world free from violence, their fears and then their courage to do a little bit more to make peace and safety a reality in their communities. If the stars could speak, I would sit and listen. I would reach out and hug them. I would assure them that their voice is important and that we are a community that cares. If the stars could speak, I would say ‘Thank you. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your light. Thank you for standing in solidarity with me, to end all violence in our communities. Thank you.”