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The Peace Tree
Submitted by: joedonovan | 7:42pm, Aug 28
Shirley MA United States

My Vision of Peace
"When I was trying to create a drawing about peace, I thought of many concepts; but, I felt that a tree would be a perfect representation of peace. --Besides the obvious peace sign and spelling of the word "peace" by the roots, a tree starts as a seed, grows to a sapling, which has to bend and sway with the elements in its environment, until it eventually grows deep roots, a strong trunk, and tough bark, which can endure the elements and give shelter.

Peace is similar. It's an idea that must grow, adapt, and overcome opposition. --Usually, not by direct conflict; but, by bending and trying to work things out with it until it can grow deep support and acceptance. Alas, nothing is immortal; however, it's important to remember when a tree passes, it leaves many seeds behind--hopefully, to one day, create a peaceful forest. The cat and squirrel are natural rivals that enjoy tranquility under The Peace Tree."

**Joseph Donovan is an artist from East Cambridge, Massachusetts. He's also inmate W55313. For the last 18 years, Joe has been serving a life sentence (without the possibility of parole) for a murder he did not commit. I will spare the details; however, it's important to note that the actual murderer in Joe's case was released back in 2003, and despite receiving support for a second chance ranging from Joe's judge, jurors, witness/victim, and the victim's family, Joe's deliverance is being clamped down by a system that won't even afford Joe's case a well-merited hearing.

As a fellow artist, who believes that art CAN heal the world and that community CAN make a difference, I saw the Whole9's Peace Project as a unique opportunity to extract Joe's art/hope from its field of darkness & give it some much needed sunshine.

Joe's case has been chronicled in the documentary film, "Unequal Justice? The Joe Donovan Story" and can be seen at:

#2 pencil

**Joe wanted to use colored pencils; but, his current facility prohibits their use/possession.

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1 person likes this.

rosendo     8:02pm, Aug 29


My heart goes out to the family of Yngve Raustein and to the parents of Joe Donovan~

It's every parents nightmare to have to hear that their child has been killed or murdered. To have a child who is convicted of taking another child's life, is in itself, a life sentence for all those who are touched by such an atrocity.

I can only imagine that the grieving may never end and the constant stream of "What If's" will forever fill the heads and hearts of those who continue to suffer from the sad circumstances that occured that fateful day.

After viewing the documentary it's very understandable that misteps were made during and before the trial. Joe's unwillingness to accept the charge of second degree murder may have placed him in prison for the rest of his life.

While I understand his decision to not accept the plea bargain, only time will tell if it was the right decision.

That aside the drawing above is a symbol of innocence and one of peace that strikes a chord for those who believe in themselves and in the world in which they live. I welcome Joe Donovan into our community and I pray for those who will be forever linked to this very sad tale.

jonathanc     6:22pm, Aug 29


Trees have always fascinated me. When I sketch I always start with a tree to warm up. The power, growth and hope of something so fragile as it starts and bends, folds, twists and ever reaches for the light and growing into something so strong and far reaching, just wow. Thank you for the art, your story, and wishing you to never give up reaching for the light bro'.

ckay     3:56pm, Aug 29


Thank you for sharing. This world is a strange place at times. So many atrocities go un-noticed while others go wrongly judged. Peace to you.

awaken2sun     9:43pm, Aug 28


As I have walked this path called life, I've learned that surprise will often find me in the most unexpected moments. I've learned that good people sometimes do bad things -- and that all of us do things that we wish we hadn't. Most of us are lucky in that we're able to simply "shake it off", pay our dues and keep on moving. It's always sobering to come across someone who just got dealt a bad hand.

It's always somewhat humbling as well as gratifying when others buy into a project or idea that you've led the charge on, and although I have been fortunate to hear expressions of gratitude from many as we've ramped up The Peace Project, it's I who am most thankful for everyone that stepped up, exposed their art, and often their innermost selves as Joseph has, because they believe in what we're doing. Together we can lift each other and others up...and I am proud to be at the center of that.

Joseph and whomever brought you here...we're glad to have you as part of our community and appreciate you joining us as we collectively strive for a brighter day.


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