Gun Violence Victims Memorial Mural
Gun Violence Victims Memorial Mural
In conjunction with the Richmond City Police Department and local artists, we will be creating an ongoing public memorial dedicated to remembering the individual victims of gun violence who have died during the 2017 calendar year. This project’s intent is two fold. We would like to create a profound, highly visible mural memorializing the individuals who die senselessly due to gun violence. We also hope to add to local public awareness of this issue so that a dialogue can be furthered to help bring this ongoing problem to an end. Together, as a community of people, we can greatly reduce and perhaps even end gun violence in Richmond, VA.
How does it work?
The Richmond City Police Department will coordinate efforts to get in touch with families who have lost a loved one or loved ones during 2017 due to gun violence. They will explain the process and intent of the project and inquire as to the family’s level of interest in participation. If the family is interested, they will contact David Morrison of the Billboard Art Project and he will act as a liaison who will bring the artists and families together to discuss the mural they would like in remembrance of their lost family member. The family will have a selection of floral plants from which they can choose to remember their loved one(s) by, and the artist will paint an image of the chosen plant on the wall of the building located at 3300 West Broad Street.
The family can choose to have the name of the departed incorporated into the painting or the painting can stand as an anonymous placeholder in remembrance. Each individual artist will paint one mural commemorating one individual, thereby creating an image “garden” of unique and beautiful plants memorializing those lost to gun violence in 2017.
Who will participate?
First and most important, hopefully the families who have lost loved ones. If the families don’t want to meet with an artist but would like to pick out a plant to be painted, that works. If they don’t want to pick out a plant, perhaps they would be okay with us doing it for them.
A variety of local artists have already signed on. Mickael Broth, Nico Cathcart, Hamilton Glass, James Thornhill, Emily Herr, and Matt Lively have all committed and offered valuable feedback. There are many other people that would jump at the opportunity to help the community to heal and bring attention to this important issue.
Frank Bell of Chesapeake Bank has offered to provide funding for paint.
To join in and help out, please contact project coordinator David Morrison. He can be reached best by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or you may call him at 804-648-2422.
Our Goal: ZERO.
Our goal should be zero gun-related deaths in the span of a year, 365 days.
This is certainly an ambitious goal but it is only unattainable if we view it as such. Humanity has endeavored to launch people into outer space and has succeeded. We have created technological feats that no one could have imagined 20 years ago. If we can defy gravity, why can’t we evolve and overcome our tendency toward violence? The answer is we can IF we set our minds to solving this problem.
The first step in dealing with violence of any sort is acknowledging and admitting there is a problem. We as a societal family have to do this. We cannot run away from this. It is something WE, all of us, have to own. Manufacturing in the United States used to be fraught with injuries and deaths. At some point companies and employees decided this was unacceptable and systems were put in place to call attention to the problem and deal with it. You cannot go into a major manufacturing plant without seeing a sign that posts the number of days since the last work related injury.
This is a proven method of acknowledging an issue and setting a goal people can push to achieve in a very open and public way. It works.
Awareness is only a step toward solving a problem. Causality needs to be identified. Such a problem has many causes and there is nothing I can add to what is a well-studied and widely discussed topic. Poverty and upbringing have been directly linked to gun-related deaths. How can we bring about positive influences and opportunities to change this?
So this brings us to action. Programs then need to be set in place and implemented to address the root causes. Their success needs to be monitored and changes need to be made. It is a process of constant vigilance. With this in mind, let’s look at how.
The first portion of this project is to bring attention to the ongoing critical issue of gun violence. Once we get people to engage on a meaningful level and get them wanting to participate and help, we need to direct their energy toward programs where they can engage the community and help bring about change.
1. Raise awareness through art
In calling artists to action on the topic of gun violence and partnering their work with the ongoing efforts of the Richmond City Police Department, we can draw from the excitement and passion the Richmond community has for murals to help raise awareness and call people to action.
2. Bring people together to engage the topic and create a dialogue
Once the mural has caught up to the number of victims that have currently passed due to gun violence, a candlelight vigil and rally will be held with local leaders who will speak and outline a plan to move forward so that we may bring the number of gun-related deaths down.
3. Direct people’s energy and resources toward programs that can help stem the tide of violence
The Richmond City Police Department already has outreach programs in place to assist the community. Drive people to these programs to help out our police department.
Mentorship programs for at risk youths. Individuals and small businesses can mentor children who are at risk of falling into violent and criminal behavior.
Funding program to help families recover from acts of gun violence. Identify and direct people to it.
4. Work to develop and implement an ongoing permanent art installation that will memorialize ALL those we as a Richmond family have lost.
This should be a goal that we explore in depth and plan accordingly.