What is “Pass the Salt”?
It is the name I have given to this project which at its core is a reconciliation project. On the face of it consists simply of a single project- making a music video.
But there is more to it than that.
I will explain.
In 2009 I attended a gathering in Croatia called “Renewing Our Minds” or ROM for short. It is a residential program for young adults focused on leadership and reconciliation that was started in 1999 as a means of bringing healing to the region that was torn apart by the Balkans war of the 90’s. ROM has continued every year since and each year the circle of people involved has spread and includes leaders from Israel- Palestine, Russia, Romania, Hungary, Albania, Tanzania and the Congo. I just came recently came from Macedonia where ROM celebrated its 20th anniversary with people attending from all across the planet.
At the time, I had nothing to do with the war, nothing to do with Croatia, nothing to do with the Balkans and really knew very little about any of it. I arrived there by a sequence of random meetings and circumstances, but what I did find and experience there had a very significant impact on me; a resonance that went clean through to my bones. From that experience I altered the trajectory of my life to be more involved in similar types of programs and events and now 10 years later I can say I have done quite a lot. I have been back multiple times to Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia. In 2013/4, I spent one year in Belfast, Northern Ireland volunteering at a peace-building and reconciliation program at Edgehill College where I aslo worked with Embrace NI – an initiative set up to welcome and serve migrants, people seeking asylum and refugees. I taught English to refugees at Emily Griffith College in Denver, Co and sang songs for Sudanese dignitaries at a conference held by the Institute for Sustainable Peace in Winter Park, Co. All of this I have done as a volunteer, and I say that as much to myself as to anyone else to know that what I have done I have done not for money or career but for something deeper and bigger.
One of the core objectives of reconciliation programs is to organize events or projects that involve connecting people who ordinarily would never meet or associate with one another in the expectation that this encounter will establish relationships and alliances to enhance and strengthen the fabric of society. How these relationships will continue onward and what they will result in are impossible to know, but there is a beautiful ripple effect that often happens and creates a mutual respect and understanding leading to greater trust and new avenues for peace.
This first project of making a music video hopes to have such an effect both in its production as well as in its use and impact.
Who are we?
The Pass the Salt Project was started by musicians and brothers Zac and Rob Schmidt. As The CO Brothers, Zac and Rob have been writing music and performing for years.