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Radical Love mural being created at Snipes Academy in Wilmington

WILMINGTON — Creativity is on display with love and solidarity front and center.  Snipes Academy students are taking part in a project put together by students and staff at UNCW.  WWAY’s Daniel Seamans takes you inside the classroom where we find our Extraordinary People of the Week!

Something special that started on the campus of UNCW is making its way to grade school campuses in town and it’s all in the name of love.

“We all wrote something on this banner(mural)to show people in Charlottesville that we care about them and we want to get along,” Snipes student Kanaja Mitchell told WWAY’s Daniel Seamans.

“This particular one is grounded in rejection of what happened in Charlottesville,” UNCW Associate Professor Dr. Candace Thompson said of the mural being created at Snipes.

“I’ve tried to make it look nice so the people in Charlottesville don’t think we hate them,” Snipes student Carlos Perez Lopez added.

It’s called Radical Love.  “Radical Love is a notion that is grounded in the commitment that teaching is an act of love,” Dr. Thompson said. “So we use this creative and critical thinking process to get young people, our students, faculty, staff, kids in the schools thinking about the world they want to create.”

Hundreds of students and staff at UNCW are part of the Radical Love Mural Project.  It uses murals to stand up to hate and it has spreaded to two elementary schools.

“This idea was presented to me about two weeks ago,” Snipes Arts Teacher Catherine Halecki said of the project in her classroom right now.

Halecki was looking for something to get her students more involved in the community.  UNCW sent a canvas their way.
“I think that they will be more likely to want to get involved in their community,” Halecki said. “To be a part of making things better, community projects, and I think they’ll take that home to their parents and get their parents excited about becoming active in community projects.”

Her students are putting their thoughts on a mural that will head to Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of the tragedy during a white nationalist rally earlier this year.

Kanaja wrote “Be Kind” on the mural.  “It means to show people how you want to be treated and treat people with respect.”

Carlos and his sister added some “Peace and Love”.  “That you can have a heart with peace, Carlos said. “They might feel happy because they know someone loves and doesn’t want to make things worse for their lives and they don’t have to be fighting with people that are already having trouble with each other.

It’s a message of love and solidarity from all ages in hopes of creating a world free of hate.  And THAT is Extraordinary.

Organizers say they have 6 little banners and 2 large ones.  One large one is going to Univ of VA and one is staying at UNCW.

Two smaller murals are being made at Snipes Academy of Arts and Design and Virgo Preparatory Academy.   One is being sent to Charlottesville High School. The school’s principal, Eric Irizarry, is a UNCW alum and was the principal at Virgo from 2012 to 2016.

You can check out the Radical Love mural in the lobby of UNCW’s Warwick Center.

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