I don't recall how I first came upon the love projects bracelets, but as soon as I saw them, I fell in love, no pun intended. I read the "about" and learned about Chrissie and this amazing company that she started with the intent of spreading love and giving women in third world countries jobs.
For me, it was a dark time in my life. I live in Parkland, Florida and an awful tragedy occurred killing 17 people and injuring 17. Our town is very small so even if you don't know someone personally who was murdered, you know who they are...it was horrific, to say the least. My son's best friend was murdered. He wasn't just killed, it was more graphic than that, he was shot, in a classroom multiple times. My daughter, who was friendly with Jamie, whom we had just seen the night before at a meet and greet at the high school, another innocent soul taken too early, was killed. 17 souls gone.
A bracelet may seem insignificant to some, but to me, Chrissie's bracelets were a tiny form of hope. Hope in our society that some still love. In this time of darkness, these bracelets with love written in different languages, touched me, if even for just a moment. I started to give them out to students, teachers, and anyone that I thought, needed some love.
I am a local photographer, but after the tragedy, I couldn't pick my camera up, I had no desire to capture moments, those moments were too sad and heartbreaking. It took some time and eventually, several months later, I started to photograph events that were related to bringing awareness to the awful epidemic of gun violence. I felt that in some small way, I was helping. Hopefully, anyway.
I met Michael Franti, an incredible musician and gave him a love bracelet. I explained to him what the base of Chrissie's company felt and was doing to spread love. He paused, stared at the bracelet, and gave me a heartfelt "thank you."
I recently was photographing another local event, a new garden on the grounds of our high school, which was started by Tori, Joaquin Oliver's girlfriend, and introduced myself. I told her that this amazing woman, Chrissie, gave me some bracelets to give out spreading her message of love. Tori, who like everyone else, has shed more tears in her life recently to last a lifetime, smiled and put on the red love bracelet.
These bracelets represent so many things, but I can tell you, that for me, personally, they represent, and again, I know I am repeating myself, hope. Hope, that one day, love will triumph over hate. Hope that love is stronger than hate. And hope, that one day, no one else will ever have to feel the sadness that has struck our town and the country, on a whole.
Laura Waitze Zuckerman
CONCERT FOR OUR CHILDREN