mahogany project

An architectural rendering of the Mahogany Tree Project installation by Shanna Whelan and Jonathan Sharp.

The Mahogany Tree Project: A Domestic Violence Installation, an M2M Gifts LLC Project 6ix initiative, in collaboration with the Family Resource Center on St. Thomas, aims to construct an advocacy-based installation made of storm-damaged, repurposed mahogany trees to memorialize lives lost from domestic violence.

Funds pledged toward the Mahogany Tree Project will be used to construct a mahogany tree-inspired installation in Family Resource Center’s Serenity Garden. This installation will memorialize close to 80 Virgin Islands residents who have lost their lives to domestic violence from 1980 to the present.

“We’re doing this to celebrate the lives of these people in a very beautiful and natural way, but we’re also sending a message to the wider community that says that these people’s memories and names are now staring us in the face,” said director Jacqueline Xavier. “How can we continue to perpetuate a cycle of domestic violence? Why would we want to continue adding names to this memorial, especially in such a small community?”

Currently, the Mahogany Tree Memorial is in conceptual form, however, the team has been working on its pre-development stages since July. They hope to raise $20,000 for the completion of the project.

“With respect to family trees, sometimes you have to ‘cut branches’ for the survival of the entire tree,” said Family Resource Center’s Vernon Araujo. “I really like the analogy of the Mahogany Tree Project. If you have some part of your family, some part of your structure, that is causing your family harm, although it might be painful or difficult, sometimes you have to cut ties to save that tree.”