News & publications

June 14, 2024
Share : 

Unveiling of Custom-Designed WNBA Mystics “Knotted Gun” Sculpture and national gun violence awareness with the Washington Mystics

June 14, 2024 - WASHINGTON One of the world’s most-renowned symbols for peace, the Non-Violence sculpture, or “Knotted Gun,” adorns the entrance to the United Nations as a permanent, compelling monument. For National Gun Violence Awareness Month, a unique and stirring interpretation of the art in Washington Mystics-theme was presented by the Non-Violence Project to the WNBA franchise at center court at sold-out Capital One Arena as 20,000 attendees prepared with anticipation the arrival of number-one draft choice Caitlin Clark and her Indiana Fever.

Additionally, the evening provided a spotlight on the nation’s 988 Lifeline, a 24-hour, 365-days-per-year link to immediate help for those in crisis. The Non-Violence Project announced today the integration of 988 Lifeline awareness across the platforms of its communications and programs, from its Schools for Peace curriculum to the influence of its Artist Ambassadors, a stable of pop-culture figures in the entertainment, arts and sports spaces. Launched as well was the online campaign #ICANENDGUNVIOLENCE, the Non-Violence Project’s call for individual agency within the greater gun violence prevention movement.

A group of men

National Gun Violence Awareness Month provides a stage to not only educate on the disturbing statistics and conditions leading to violence and self-harm, but the tools and means for individuals to mitigate the problem within their own lives. The WNBA and Washington Mystics boldly embraced the call as the Non-Violence Project, among other organizations committed to education and empowerment took center court, including AMER_ICAN, Artist for Action and the Center for American Progress.

The Mystics have a long tradition in embracing gun violence prevention across the Capital Region and among their avid fan base. This year was no different except for the venue. Ticket demand was so high the team relocated to Capital One Arena where the game sold out in less than 30 minutes. The moment provided an exceptional opportunity to elevate the importance in addressing a public-health crisis claiming over 40,000 American lives annually and ranked today as the number-one cause of death for youth and children. The proper securing of weapons was promoted as suicide by firearm continues to ravage society, from children and veterans to senior citizens. Youth isolation, depression and self-harm are of particular concern with girls twice as likely to take their lives than boys, and one in three students reported to be regularly bullied in school. The Non-Violence Project is actively and creatively mitigating the trends. Studies indicate where NVP Schools for Peace exercises are put into practice violence is reduced, on average, 30-70 percent.

Mystic dancers

“The Non-Violence Project Artist Ambassadors to date have included such cultural icons as Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and the late Muhammad Ali,” John McKenna, Country Director-USA, said. “However, this is the first interpretation of the sculpture created for a professional sports team. With women leading the way on so many of the violence-prevention fronts, it seemed altogether fitting the WNBA and Washington Mystics be given this honor.” The sculpture was painted by award-winning illustrator Jess Goldsmith, selected for her talent and commitment to the issue. Goldsmith founded Women of Type, a platform of over 100,000 people amplifying the creativity of women and nonbinary artists in the typography and lettering industry across the globe.

"We all have a role to play in reducing gun violence and must build upon recent wins that have led to historic declines in gun violence over the past 18 months,” said Nick Wilson, senior director of gun violence prevention at the Center for American Progress. “This includes educating gun owners about the importance of securely storing firearms and demanding that Congress pass stronger gun laws and increase investments that address the root causes of violence.”

“This is a united, collective shout-out to America on the importance of 988. Everybody needs to carry these three numbers in their wallets, heads and hearts,” McKenna added. “It’s an effective and readily available tool to intercept and interrupt the crises in our lives. When we say, ‘I Can End Gun Violence,’ those three numbers say I mean it, believe it and can do something about it.”

Non-Violence Project The Knotted Gun sculpture
About the Non-Violence Project

As a memorial tribute to John Lennon, the Non-Violence sculpture, or “Knotted Gun,” readily became globally recognized and replicated for exhibition in cities worldwide; as the central symbol for peace and non-violence at the entrance to the United Nations, it is estimated today over 1 billion people, or one in six people on the planet, have had some interaction with the symbol, physically or virtually.

Founded in 1993 as a public-benefit organization promoting social change through raising awareness and delivering social-emotional and educational exercises to reduce violence in society, the mission is changing the mentalities and behaviors that lead to violence and abuse through its Schools for Peace program.

To date 10 million students and teachers have been instructed and trained in non-violence principles, reducing violence by 30-70 percent in communities where the project is applied, as published in the annual Evaluation Reports.

Launched in 2022, the Why Knot NY? initiative is a campus-based, student-driven curriculum offered to New York City high schools across all five boroughs, applying conflict-resolution, peace-building and violence-prevention principles, culminating in the youth creating their own interpretations of the “Knotted Gun”.

Artist-Ambassadors have included Yoko Ono, Muhammad Ali, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr who have designed their personal interpretations of the “Knotted Gun;” the organization has been hailed by President Barack Obama as “one of the best youth education programs in the world” and recognized with The President’s Call to Service Award and The Outstanding Leader Award.
Contact: John McKenna, Country Director Non-Violence Project USA,
Share : 

The Non-Violence Project

The Non-Violence Project is a non-profit organization created in 1993 with the goal of preventing and reducing violence. The organization is headquartered in Switzerland and is active in many countries around the world. Its symbol, the Knotted Gun, is an international symbol of peace. 
To know more about the Foundation’s history click here

Our mission

Our mission is to INSPIRE, MOTIVATE and ENGAGE people to solve conflicts without resorting to any form of violence. Through education and awareness, we measure the impact of our programs and we have a specific focus on youth as we believe in the power of young people as changemakers. 
To know more about the Foundation’s mission click here

How you can support

There are many ways to support our work ! We rely on the generosity of our donors but we also welcome projects’ sponsoring, fundraising events, partnerships of all kinds and much more. 
To find how you or your organization can support the Foundation’s activities around the world, please click here


The Non-Violence Project Foundation
Avenue Louis Casaï 18
1209 - Geneva
+41 22 940 42 47Contact us
Copyright © 1994 – 2024 The Non-Violence Project Foundation
Conception & development :
The Non-Violence Project is a NPO with special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).