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  • Writer's pictureTeam ARTE

#IgualdadParaTodos: ARTE Community Mural Calls for an End to Discrimination

“The message of my project is to show that people can fly. I chose to break the stereotype that people have limits; humans can fly high and reach as far as we want.” -Meylin, 16

In collaboration with the Pan American International High School (PAIHS) in Elmhurst, Queens, ARTE students organized a community arts and human rights event on August 10, 2016. This mural project drew from personal experiences and passions, as well as the human rights topics they had explored in their year long in-class program. After engaging with the curriculum, which all highlighted the intersectional nature of inequality and persecution, students chose to focus on the fundamental idea that all human beings are equal and decided to use their mural to speak out against all forms of discrimination.

From March 2016 and throughout summer 2016, students organized a community unveiling of the mural. A group of students, who had both participated in the class and some who had helped to paint the mural, came together to plan all aspects of the event, from creating the invitation to designing the spoken program and writing statements. At the event, students explained the artistic process and meaning behind their mural and the effect they hoped it would have in their community. Students also shared personal stories of discrimination in order to encourage others to support and empathize with each other. Finally, they called for everyone to take an active part in ending all forms of discrimination, inspiring a collective pledge amongst their peers.

In addition to their overarching message of anti-discrimination, students participated in a social media advocacy campaign to reduce the stigma around disability. Students learned about and discussed the purpose and effectiveness of social media tools for advocacy and took pictures in front of their mural to contribute to the campaign and add their work to the online conversation.

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