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Morgan Hill Resident Aims to Sow Peace: Morgan Hill Peace Project Written By Jordan Rosenfeld I n the early 2000s, the world was getting Janet Librers- Leach down. A Morgan Hill resident for 54 years, she felt overwhelmed by the violence she saw around her—from war in the Middle East to the senseless murder of teen Tara Romero in 2011 and the 2012 disappearance of Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar. She wanted to do something about it but wasn’t sure what. The answer came to her when she took a trip to a retreat center in Montecito, California and found herself in a little garden with a pole that read: “May peace prevail on earth” in several different languages. “I thought, I want to do something like that in Morgan Hill. I want to bring people together, no matter where you stand, what you believe, what your political or religious affiliation,” she said. She envisioned a place “where you could sit and reflect and bring you to a more peaceful state of mind,” which she has since gone on to call the Morgan Hill Peace Project. When she came home from her peaceful epiphany in Montecito she began researching how to create a similar such monument and place in town, planning to simply purchase 60 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN the materials herself at first. A conversation with Mayor Steve Tate led to her approaching the El Toro Culture and Arts Commission and the city of Morgan Hill to propose the idea of a monument and seating somewhere local, such as the Community and Cultural Center or the library. “I wanted something perpetual that didn’t need a lot of care.” She got approval for a basalt monument to be situated near the grassy lawn at the Morgan Hill Library, and connected with a local artist named David Middlebrook who drew up the sketch for the project. The monument will be approximately 10 feet tall, made from basalt. It will say the word “peace” in different languages that reflect those most spoken in this community. On top will be a bronze dove with an olive branch in its mouth, of which, she said, “You won’t be able to tell if it’s bringing peace or taking peace somewhere else,” she said. Though Middlebrook agreed to donate the basalt, the cost of the project still comes out to a hefty price tag of $30,000. Librers-Leach has done small acts of fundraising over the years, but she’s only one third of the way to her financial goal, at $10,000. december 2018-january 2019