The Freedom to Love Monument:
Project Synopsis

Love is touching souls
Joni Mitchell1

Summary
The Freedom to Love Monument is a bronze memorial to gay men who died of HIV/AIDS related illnesses or homophobic violence, especially those whose right to remembrance and identity has been denied. The vision is to create a shrine in a grove, meadow, desert or dune on private property with public access where people can visit, leave flowers, do ritual, remember, pray and honor the absent. In the event that a site is not obtained, the monument will be viewed as a float in Pride Parades and as it zooms along the highways and byways of America on a flatbed truck.

Objectives
To raise a monument to the freedom to love and the love of freedom,
to the lives extinguished by vicious fanatics,
to the bravery of those who live with HIV/AIDS…
and to those who are gone but still here.

Background
A rainbow of people of all times and all lands has lived infinite nightmares due to the lack of freedom to love. Even in supposed Gay Meccas like New York City, abuses span from harassment to homicide2. Many of our dead have been striped of their identity, misrepresented in their burial rites, denied shrines, disappeared or simply forgotten. At the same time, the fear of AIDS is exploited to justify violence, increase homophobia and persecute sexual difference. The onslaught of homophobia and AIDS has made pride even more strategic to the struggle for life. The challenge is to replace self-hatred with self-love; shame with pride; denial with celebration. Part of the celebration is creating this monument.

Battling Oblivion
If silence=death, then visibility=life. This monument testifies to the proud existence of those whose very being is denied, ridiculed or terminated. As a “means of remembering”3 , a monument brings to heart the past and present. It is a three-dimensional symbol of condensed, infinite significance that honors, venerates and commemorates. In the realm where perception and consciousness are disputed, this is indeed a mighty power.

While the majority of monuments depict conquering heroes, men who have killed men, there are no monuments in the world that depict men loving men4. In this regard, the Freedom to Love Monument is groundbreaking. Trumping the very epicenter of the patriarchy, this monument upends the paradigm whereby manhood is defined by domination, combat and destruction. It inverts the glorification of war and hate and exalts love.

The Freedom to Love Monument is the gay equivalent of Rodin’s Kiss. We need and deserve this icon!
–John Martin

There are few artists who give as much as Cassandra does; few who dare to dream a dream as necessary, as pure.
–Jaime Manrique

A Home
For many years and on several continents, the Freedom to Love Monument has tried to find a home and the support needed to be sculpted to scale. Unfortunately, censorship is rampant throughout the world and not even in Amsterdam is it possible to site this monument on public land. What is viable is to site it on private property with public access in a garden or grove, desert or dune, be it part of an existing estate or on land acquired for the purpose. The vision is to create a shrine where people can visit, leave flowers, do ritual, remember, pray and honor the absent.

In the event that a site is not obtained, the monument will be viewed as a float in Pride Parades and as it zooms along the highways and byways of America on a flat bed truck. Building on the great traditions of ceremonial processions that usher solemn effigies and raucous carnival floats, this totem of pride will sally fourth, wheeled down Fifth Avenue and far-flung Main Streets. Of course, New York and San Francisco are on its itinerary, but priority will also be given to those places like Salt Lake City where celebrating pride is still a frontline endeavor.

Therefore, the public will be varied; rural and urban, gay and straight, running the gamut from the roaring crowd studded with winged divas in tutus, Dykes on Bikes and the elderly neighbor out walking her dog to the wheat farmer scratching his head as it rolls through Arkansas on it way to Utah.

Without historical precedent, the Freedom to Love Monument is sure to cause a stir. But its exclusion from public venues is understood to be symbolic of the ostracism gay people ourselves suffer. Similarly, any vandalism of the monument is a metaphor for the violence our community endures.

What can you do? 
It is no accident that there are so few monuments that represent what is going on. Monument making is an expensive endeavor and cost itself often denies means of expression. The required budget for Freedom of Love Monumentvaries significantly depending on the site, scale and medium chosen. This monument is an ambitious, independent initiative, not a commission from the government or private enterprise. Carefully complementing a variety of donations and funding sources with the sale of bronze copies of the maquette
 can raise the required budget. All contributions are tax-deductible. In-kind donations are also actively sought and graciously welcome, be it a site for the shrine, material, equipment, fundraising or helpful suggestions.
 

Acquire the Bronze Maquette
The maquette is available for purchase with a gray or black  patina. This limited signed edition comes with an elegant black marble base.

Make a Donation: 
Freedom to Love Monument needs you! Please join those individual and organizations committed to creating this historic icon by sending your support today. Every bit helps, and your tax-deductible donation will make a difference. Thank you!

Or if you wish to MAIL your contribution, please make your check payable to: 

Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

Earmarked for Cassandra Productions /Freedom to Love Monument. Our address is: 

/ Cassandra Productions
2474 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
Phone: 718-918- 2110

Your support is greatly appreciated!

More Information

If you would like to learn more about Freedom to Love Monument please contact: info@cassandraproductions.net

1 A Case of You, Blue, Joni Mitchell, 1971.
2 See the Anti-Violence Project for statistics. www.avp.org Though not all the violence comes from the outside. Undoubtedly internalized oppression is a major factor in LGBT teen suicide.
3 Webster Dictionary, Etymology of monument. From Latin monumentum, literally memorial, from monēre, to remind.
4 We’ve all heard of the monument to the Unknown Soldier but there is no monument to the Unknown Lover! Monuments portray role models and inculcate acceptable behavior. If men were encouraged to embrace each other rather than murder each other, the world would be a very different place.