by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom joined the Rainbow World Fund (RWF), the only international humanitarian aid organization that is based in the LGBT community, to invite the people of the world to submit wishes to decorate the World Tree of Hope in San Francisco City Hall's Grand Rotunda. A unique and inspirational feature of San Francisco's holiday season since its inception in 2006, the World Tree of Hope has evolved into a global symbol of unity and hope for a better world.
The tree, a gift from the LGBT community to the world, was created by RWF as a way to inspire hope and encourage people to think about what they would like for the future of the world, and then take action.
This year, The World Tree of Hope will feature over 5,000 white origami cranes and silver stars, each containing written wishes for the future of the world from individuals across the nation and around the globe. The wishes are printed and folded into thousands of origami cranes by a team of origami enthusiasts and volunteers. Thousands around the world have already heard the call for wishes, and the open invitation for wish submissions will continue throughout the holiday season and year 'round.
In 1955, the origami crane became an international symbol of peace when the world learned the story of Sadako Sasaki. Ten years after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 12-year-old Sadako contracted leukemia. While in the hospital, a friend told her about a Japanese legend that the folder of a thousand paper cranes would be granted one wish. Her wish to be healed grew into a wish for peace for the entire world. Sadako passed away 356 cranes short of her goal. Her classmates folded the rest, and all 1,000 were buried with her. A children's campaign honoring Sadako's hope, strength, and determination led to the creation of the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima's Peace Park.
RWF welcomes your wishes at www.rainbowfund.org/tree.
'The World Tree of Hope is an exciting community project and an opportunity for San Francisco, the birthplace of the United Nations, to promote peace and humanitarianism around the world,' said San Francisco Mayor Newsom.
Wishes by everyone, from the president of the United States to schoolchildren from Seattle to Sri Lanka, make San Francisco City Hall's holiday tree a powerful expression of people coming together to create a better world. This year, some notable wishes on the tree will include President Barack Obama, Dame Jane Goodall, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Gavin Newsom, First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Frances Moore Lappe, Danielle Steel, Sharon Gless, Courtney Cox, David Arquette, RuPaul, and Stanlee Gatti.
'The World Tree of Hope taps into two of our most powerful resources - the human mind and heart - to give individuals a way to join together to express our hopes and intentions for the future of our global community,' says RWF Executive Director Jeff Cotter.
A collaboration of the LGBT and Japanese American communities, the project includes the participation of local elementary, middle, and high school students in San Francisco.
The unveiling of The World Tree of Hope will take place at a public dedication ceremony on December 15 at 5:30 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall. Celebrities and special guests are expected to attend.
The World Tree of Hope will be available for public view in San Francisco City Hall from December 1, 2010 to January 2, 2011. RWF and the City of San Francisco would like to acknowledge the Delancey Street Foundation for generously donating the 20-foot white fur tree this year.
Founded in 2000, RWF (www.rainbowfund.org) is an international humanitarian charity based in the LGBT and allied community. RWF's mission is to promote LGBT philanthropy in the area of world humanitarian relief. RWF works to help people who suffer from hunger, poverty, disease, oppression, and war by raising awareness and funds to support relief efforts and sustainable development projects around the world. RWF currently supports projects focusing on global HIV/AIDS, water development, landmine eradication, hunger, education, orphans, and disaster relief worldwide. RWF is the first and only LGBT based humanitarian aid organization. RWF also works to raise awareness of the charitable contributions of the LGBT community, and to establish connections with non-LGBT communities. RWF programs increase LGBT visibility, serving as a platform for LGBT compassion and concern.
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