In 1999, a group of young women of color worked with Groundswell to create a mural speaking out against domestic violence. The mural, “Peace is Not a Dream in Storage,” was a bold message of peace that dared to depict women taking action against the reality of violence they face. Despite the importance of the topic, some neighborhood residents protested the mural because they claimed that domestic violence didn’t happen in their community. Racism also motivated the local residents’ criticism, as they were concerned that the mural’s depictions of people of color would lower property values.

 

Despite protests to save “Peace is Not a Dream in Storage,” the wall owner bowed to the critics and whitewashed the mural—literally with paint, and figuratively by suppressing the perspectives of the young women of color.

 

Galvanized by the mural’s destruction, Groundswell created Voices Her’d, a program that gives young women a platform to tell their stories with heart and without censorship.

 

Working with girls my age was a remarkable experience. It helped me understand and support feminism on a whole new level.

— Farangiz Yusupova, Youth Artist

 

Since its start, Voices Her’d has served young women who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to using art as a tool for social justice. During the school year, participants examine issues facing women and girls of color and choose a topic for a large-scale summer mural project to be completed as part of our flagship program, the Summer Leadership Institute.

Murals in this Series