How have flowers throughout the world become powerful symbols in peace and action?
George Harris III/Hibiscus
Young George Harris set the flower power movement in motion in 1967 by placing flowers in rifles at a protest against the Vietnam war in Washington D.C. His simple action was captured by photographer Bernie Boston and transmitted around the world - becoming an iconic peace symbol to this day.
Harris later became drag queen Hibiscus, one of the founders of the San Francisco drag troupe the Cockettes. He performed with the Cockettes in San Francisco and New York throughout the 1970s before his death from Aids in 1982. His simple action continually inspires as an act of peace against the impulse of war.
Sophie was a young woman standing against the Nazi machine during World War Two. She and her brother Hans gathered a group of friends writing leaflets for distribution condemning the war and the Nazi leadership in 1943 Munich. They called themselves the White Rose.
A white rose had several meanings for Sophie and Hans; one of them being it was the name of a popular novel at the time about a Mexican battling U.S. corporations -(a social justice connection across continents and eras.) She was executed by the Nazis at 21.
What does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
The Pansy Project
This initiative by UK artist Paul Harfleet was created to draw attention to homophobic attacks. A pansy flower is planted by Harfleet where an anti-gay attack occurred - whether physical or by insult. The flower is then photographed by him, with the location documented on his website. The Project has grown to mark sites of homophobic violence across the world and has been featured and discussed at a number of presentations and schools. Pansies have also been planted also embassies of countries espousing homophobic terror.
This simple act of beauty has sprouted opportunities to talk not only about homophobia in society - its history, reasons and effects - but about prejudice, values, gender and bullying.
Freedom Rose of Sharon
This Hibiscus flower is spiritually named the Freedom Rose of Sharon. According to the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum in North Carolina, USA the flower was used in the Underground Railroad to indicate a 'safe house' - a protected haven along the journey of homes, churches and communities helping bring Southern slaves to Northern safety and freedom in mid-19th century U.S.
How a small flower can hold so much promise and power! There are a number of symbols recorded by historians that strategically illuminated the Underground Railroad. The flower is still currently a popular American plant.
All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.