By Susan Volz, Philadelphia Community Organizer
In September we saw this chalk drawing tribute to Breonna Taylor at the Tabor and Olney gateway and after sharing it on Instagram, were contacted by the artist, Philadelphia artist and educator Daphne Smallwood.
On October 24, we hosted a Community Chalk Mural drawing at the Whitaker Avenue gateway in collaboration with Daphne. She was joined by Dallas, Erica, and Marquise, crew members from one of our partner organizations, PowerCorps PHL. Here are Daphne’s own words about what inspired the Community Chalk project:
Daphne Smallwood is inspired to create chalk art that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but chalk art that promotes conversation, healing and self-reflection. For this chalk project she was inspired by the recent racial injustices that have been occurring across the United States.
For many of us we have been in a state of feeling as if we cannot breathe. Breathing freely has become difficult due to COVID-19, face masks, and the unexpected changes that has happened this year. In the midst of all these breathing difficulties, we need to not forget those who are no longer breathing.
From past chalk projects, she has learned that not everyone is as aware of the racial injustices people have faced. She feels these names not only need to be said, but drawn and written with chalk. By using something as elementary as chalk, this project aims to conjure up that fearless childhood spirit that exists within each of us.
Sadly, this project remains as important as ever, as another name must be added to this list. His name is Walter Wallace, Jr. and he was killed by police in West Philadelphia on October 26th. We mourn his death and the deaths of all those who have been killed by racist violence. We join the community in calling for justice. Black Lives Matter.