Following the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, senior and middle school students at North Branch School in nearby Afton wanted to create a memorial celebrating peace and respect across lines of difference. They painted images and quotations honoring diversity and acceptance on stones to form a path around their school’s meditation garden. The stepping stones lead toward the garden as a “path to peace,” and away from it to symbolize “action steps” that students can take to help create peace in their community.
After creating the path, students wrote their representatives in Washington, D.C., and then traveled there to meet with the lawmakers and deliver their letters. Next, they took illustrations of their stepping stones to the Vietnam Veterans and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials, where they left them for visitors to discover.
Ehrenhalt is the school-based programming and grants manager with Teaching Tolerance.