Young Oakland Superheroes Fight for Their Mural | KQED Arts

Young Oakland Superheroes Fight for Their Mural | KQED Arts


When I walk to school in the morning, I
see our community not clean, homeless people. I see police cars chasing other
cars, and I see a lot of violence. We need to stop violence and make our community
even (more) beautiful than it already is. Fantastic Girl is a superhero and she’s a girl
from Oakland. And she helps the community. Lava Girl and Lava Boy, if they see
bad guys shooting at people, Lava Boy and Lava Girl have their lava vision, to melt those guns. Golden Boys’ powers, he has an electric force field so he can get to danger faster. D-Bow Jalapeño, if people are homeless and hungry he could serve them nachos and serve them water The whole idea of the Oakland
Super Heroes Mural Project what is it about you, what are your talents that could actually have an impact in our world. We work with students in schools throughout Oakland and the larger East Bay. We use the arts as a tool for self
awareness and self esteem, putting in that little seed, you are a hero and you
can actually solve some of the greatest problems that are out there. -Just like you are sprinkling the water like Fantastic Girl is In coming up with the design for each character, we discussed what a part of their physical
representation is the most important and how can we display power and strength
without any physical intimidation. And that’s how we end up with Golden Boy who’s leaping over the city and casting the shield down upon it. Or Fantastic Girl is stomping through the water while also healing everything. And then my role
was taking all of these characters and trying to create some cohesive narrative
in one visual representation. They named gun violence, hunger, homelessness, natural disasters, all of these issues. The world may be seemingly falling apart, but the Hoover Elementary kids don’t see it that way. Caltrans wants our copyright, but it
doesn’t belong to them. We came up with the superheroes. -You’ve worked hard and
we have a cause. We are going out to show the world … -The whole idea of just we’re
gonna pass over exclusive copyright just didn’t make any sense. -Are we ready? -Yeah! -Ready, say, “Yes!” And so we have to get serious and mobilize. -We really want this mural to get approved, to show what we have created. -We can inspire! We can inspire! -We just have to keep on fighting through each wall that comes our way. -These here are originals and copies of
student letters that were written to selected local officials, as well as
Caltrans. We had one student write to Nancy Skinner, the California senator, and
she responded. -Your good letters, are really, really helpful. We have to try to get Caltrans to back off their rules. The City of Oakland is really working on it; I’m working on it. I want it to happen fast. It might take a little while but
we’re gonna win. -Okay, everybody look up here, with big smiles. Alright, say, “Superheroes.” Superheroes! The senator, based on the work that you
all did, with the petitions, on the letters that went to her, on all of our hard work, on the the protest that we did, she called the head of Caltrans and
they have started to move. But it is gonna happen. This is due to your work. -(Claps) Wooo! -I want you all to know that your voices
were heard at the very highest levels of the California state government. Your voices are valued. -You all, as young people in our community, are change makers. All of you. Yes! (Clapping) -And I look forward to painting with you all at the wall soon. It’s happening! It’s exciting. -Who wants to do this part blue? -The first week of mural production we invite the kids out. They were laying in the first coats of paint. So from beginning to end it’s not only
their idea, but metaphorically they put the first brushstrokes down. -This is my first time seeing the wall. It’s amazing. It’s like it came to life. The scenery is familiar, but it’s all in their minds eye — this fantastical sunset. But they are very real. And they’re larger than life size and huge, wearing like baggy jeans. The backpack slung over their shoulder became like their parachute. And so hopefully they’re gonna recognize themselves in it. -I wanna bring the attention to our
young people that are all right here. Let’s give them a big round of applause. These are the young people who started off as third graders, from Hoover Elementary. And who were part of this process for two entire years to make sure that their ideas, their superheroes, graced our city’s walls. -And at this time, I’m thrilled to introduce Daijon Kelly, one of our youth leaders that led this team in the creation of Golden Boy. -When I walk by it, when I drive past it, in my head, I just say, “I did that.” -He helped people become kind by showing them their future. I really did it. -Golden Boy saved the day. (Clapping) I learned that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

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