For more than 20 years, Geoffrey Davis, brother of slain Councilman James Davis, has been snapping pictures and compiling a photographic history of the peace/stop the violence movement in Brooklyn, which he has now adapted into an artistic display.
For the 2nd Annual James E. Davis Art Exhibit, which will be traveling all over the city for the remainder of February, Davis has brought together many different snapshots from photographers from across the globe, including himself, that describe the history, as well as the “tragedies and triumphs of the peace movement,” since the early 1990’s.
“The movement is not just in the streets,” said Davis, 46, “It’s abroad, it’s in office buildings, and it’s in the papers.”
Davis, a Brooklyn native and resident of Crown Heights, founded the Love Yourself, Stop the Violence foundation in 1990 with his brother James. He later would rename the organization in memory of his brother, following the councilman’s murder in 2003 by political opponent Othniel Askew.
“You can kill the flesh, but you can't kill an idea,” said Davis, who believes that an artistic approach to the peace movement is the best way to connect with the youngsters who will eventually be the next wave of peace an nonviolence advocates.
“The younger generation absorbs the arts better,” said Davis, “but we’ll take it to the streets if need be.”
Davis, a single father of three, has been organizing peace marches in Brooklyn ever since the infamous tension between Jews and African Americans in Crown Heights, the success of which can’t be ignored according to Davis, who now considers his Jewish neighbors as close friends.
Davis regards the peace movement, especially in Brooklyn, more important now than ever.
“With the recent gentrification of the area, peace must remain in the forefront.”
The efforts of Davis and other peace advocates to keep wheels of nonviolence awareness in motion, have resulted in the creation of a multicultural museum of peace in Brooklyn, set to open its doors to the public in August of this year. The museum will feature peace advocates from around the world, exhibits are expected to rotate quarterly.
According to Davis, the goal of the museum and the movement as a whole is to “encourage young people to use their brains and minds to move forward, instead of violence.”