Buffalo High School students helping community heal with peace flag after deadly clinic shooting

"It really is not about the individual that is creating the work, but it’s about the healing of the rest of the people that you’re connected to," said Amy Sparks, an educator at Buffalo High School.

With each tear of fabric, another 6-by-8 piece of what will become a peace flag is ready for its design.

"It’s a visible reminder that you are not alone, that we are connected and that we are all part of something bigger than ourselves," she explained, using the words of one of her students who presented the peace flag project idea to the Buffalo City Council this week.

The Buffalo Hospital Foundation and Allina Health initiated the concept last fall with Buffalo High School students, but it is one that is taking on new meaning in this community after the deadly shooting inside Buffalo’s Allina Health clinic last week.

"The idea of having something beautiful that everyone could contribute a square with a design, or some words, and coming together and spreading this peace, which I really think is healing, is something that we really need right now," Sparks said.

Junior Elisabeth Grack is helping with the volunteer project. She took home a fabric roll over the weekend and spent time ripping it into sections and sealing each square in an envelope with a marker. She said the flag will symbolize compassion and healing.

"I feel good knowing I am making a contribution, and other people are going to be able to also leave their mark on these flags," Grack said.

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Packets of fabric pieces are being packaged up in boxes and bins to be dropped off at schools and Buffalo area businesses for the community to design.

"I’m so excited to see the finished project," Grack said.

The fabric will then be strung together, the flag put on display in Buffalo, but it may also travel to other cities and states during times of trauma, serving as a visual reminder of peace and strength.

"I think it’s important for everyone who is able to help, to help out when you can, and really just know that when life gets rough, everyone else is there to support you," Grack added.

The fabric swatches are available at several businesses in the community now, including Gather, The Thirsty Buffalo, Huikkos, What’s The Scoop, Sterling Drug, Buffalo Covenant Church, Buffalo American Legion, Buffalo City Chamber Officer, City Hall/Community Center and the Buffalo Public Library.

Once your design is complete, you should return it to the location where you picked it up by Friday, Feb. 26.

Volunteers will then be picking up the finished squares, and students will begin sewing the pieces together in the next two weeks.

The plan is to have the peace flag complete and ready for display by the middle of March.