The goal of the National Youth Art Movement (NYAM) is to provide youth all across America in neighborhoods besieged by gun violence with an opportunity to make their mark on the issue by using their city as a blank canvas to communicate to the entire community the impact on their lives.
When NYAM asked youth in Chicago to create images that represent their perspective on gun violence -- it became clear that their points of view were multifaceted. Their artworks express the complexity of the issue and expose the many faces of violence -- from peers to police and politicians.
The image in this artwork can be interpreted in multiple ways. Many see it as an illustration of the school-to-prison pipeline, a system in which failing students are funneled out of schools and into jails and prisons. Some look at the position of the figure and see themselves – a person caught between two paths. Others see the “hands up” gesture as surrender or a symbol of protest for justice.
The Girls Like Me project pictured above provides 12 weeks of training in media literacy and digital storytelling to African American girls in Chicago ages 11 - 16.