Colorful chalk drawings show what peace looks like

"chalk out”

Students add chalk drawings to a peace mural in the Quad – Photo: Edith Tovar

Colorful chalk and lively music set the scene as UIC students created a mural in the quad to “chalk out” what peace looks like.

Students created their artwork while sharing with each other what they do to create peace, said Megan Carney, director of the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center. The Sept. 8 event was sponsored by the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change and led by the J-DEF Peace Project.

Members of the J-DEF Peace Project started the mural and students added their chalk drawings.

Anna Ruiz wrote, “Man Made Borders will not stop us!” Ruiz is a member of the Fearless Undocumented Alliance student group, which aims to create a flourishing environment for UIC undocumented students.

“We don’t remember how important peace is,” she said. “It’s something we take for granted and it affects how we interact with other students.”

The J-DEF Peace Project extends the dialogue of peace through visual arts, said Jeff Maldonado. He cofounded the J-DEF project with his wife, Elizabeth, as a tribute to their son, Jeff Jr., who was killed by gang violence. An aspiring hip-hop artist, Jeff Jr. wrote about sociopolitical issues, culture and gang violence.

Jocelyn Chavez said she loved how the event facilitated interaction among students who may not normally interact, in a space students pass while walking to class.

“It’s great to see what’s present and how we all have similarities, especially with the theme,” she said.

The Peace Project mural kicked off a series of events sponsored by Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change on the impact violence has within our communities. They include the African-American Cultural Center, Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Disability Resource Center, Gender and Sexuality Center, Latino Cultural Center and Women’s Leadership and Resource Center.

“The Peace Project shines a different light on the issue of violence by using a positive angle,” said Mark Martell, director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center.

“Students collaborate, transcending their identities, to create a language of peace.”


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