The Pepperbox

The Student News Site of Arcata High School

The Pepperbox

The Pepperbox

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Community unites for BSU mural unveiling

Community members gathered in the FAB last night for the unveiling of the Black Student Union (BSU) mural memorializing Josiah Lawson, a young man killed on April 15th, 2017. The art piece serves as a representation of strength through tragedy and joy in the Black community.

“The main message behind this mural is we’re activating love through how we show up for the most vulnerable in our community, and in this case the Black community,” Audrea All-Love Stuckey, a member of the non-profit Youth Art Will Succeed and co-coordinator for the mural, said.

The mural was a collaboration between artist Malachi Arthur, the non-profit Youth Art will Succeed, and BSU. The Tuesday event highlighted that collaboration. Food was provided by the culinary class, the floral design program arranged flowers for the occasion, and vibrant live music filled the room.

“At first I was thinking no one was going to show up, but I’m super excited so many people showed up. We have to thank our amazing community at Arcata High,” BSU president Aliyah Aaron said. 

Arthur began working on the mural design last summer. He wanted to paint a piece that made people stop and think about the Black community’s connection to love and resistance through police brutality.

“There are certain things that can only be expressed through imagery. I think the immediate reaction that someone has internally when looking at imagery can’t really be replaced by anything else,” Arthur said.

For the mural design, Arthur connected historical Black resistance to the modern day, with a backdrop of hope.

“I wanted to go as vibrant as possible while still incorporating traditional Black Power imagery. I drew on the Black Panthers from the ’60s, and so I wanted to go with really bright colors so it would pop,” Arthur said.

The mother of Josiah Lawson, Charmaine Lawson, spoke as well. She expressed gratitude for the representation.

“To see young folks like Arcata and Eureka students remembering my son and memorializing him in this way… it means so much to me. You gave Josiah a chance and a place for his spirit to be heard,” Lawson said.

Lawson reminded those in attendance to fight for justice, and urged students, parents, and everyone else to pressure the District Attorney’s office to serve justice in the community.

“I’m asking as a community member, as a mom, to not let my son continue another seven years without justice,” Lawson said.

BSU displays mural (Sasha Love)
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About the Contributor
Sasha Love
Sasha Love, Feature Section Editor
Sasha Love is a Senior who enjoys doing a variety of art and writing and sampling out mediums and styles and is excited to get more involved in the school by writing for the Pepperbox. Sasha has been placed in the Redwood Writing Project for several years and her art has been displayed in the community during her time studying at AAI (Arcata Arts Institute). She loves being in nature and hanging out with friends. Running cross-country and mountain biking soothes her cravings for adventure. At school, her favorite subject is social studies and she wishes to continue these pursuits at university next year.
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