New Hanover County teachers chosen for Black Lives Matter art installation

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — After passing the “End Racism Now” art installation, Wilmington City Council picked 18 candidates to each paint a letter of the message: “Black Lives Do Matter”.

One of those candidates is Lindsey Williams, a special education teacher at Rachel Freeman School of Engineering and the artist behind the installation’s “T”. She plans to fill her letter with stars and a portrait of Rachel Freeman, all with the help of her students.

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“Rachel Freeman was a former school board member for New Hanover County Schools,” says Dionne Sturdivant, the school’s principal. “And she advocated for this entire area. She passed away, and she would be most proud.”

Williams says she hopes her students know their lives matter:

“I don’t want any of our students guessing about how we feel, and I think being silent is still saying something. So I want our students to know that our teachers are with them and that we believe in them and that we believe that their lives matter.”

Schala Harper, an early childhood educator at Trask Middle School, is painting her “A” to look like an African quilt, a traditional storytelling tool. She hopes the letters weave together a story about humanity, not politics.

“We’re all the same,” says Harper, “Underneath it all we all bleed red. Yes we have different beliefs, we have different backgrounds, we have different experiences. But because we are all human, the main commonality is that we’re here, we want to give love, we want to spread love, and we just need to treat each other the same.”

And at the end of the day, she wants students to know the school is in their corner.

“It’s important for students to have allies,” says Margaret Rollison, the Trask Middle School principal. “So I think when they see things like this and that the school is supporting teachers who are taking on endeavors like this, I think it helps them to feel connected.”