I Am the Atlantic

I Am the Atlantic by Josh Sarantitis. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About the Project 

As rates of violence increase in some of our most troubled neighborhoods, Mural Arts Philadelphia in partnership with DBHIDS continues to work within communities to grapple with the issues of violence and trauma among youth. Through We Rise! Children, Trauma, and Resilience, we acknowledge that young people’s experience of and involvement with violence leave a lasting impact on themselves and this city as a whole. This project aims to have viewers and project participants see themselves as survivors, not victims, and produce a final work of art that recognizes the the pain and deeply embedded trauma of those who experience violence while illuminating the resilience that exists among all of us.

Behavioral Health framework: 

Domain 4 Community Connection and Mobilization

We Rise! uses a variety of activities and events to encourage dialogue among young people about personal challenges they’ve encountered, and help identify strategies or services that may be of help to overcome those challenges.  Using art making, storytelling, and design visioning,

  • Allow us to see people as survivors not victims
  • Renew the sense of hope that is missing in our communities
  • Change the perception of who is truly being victimized in our communities.
  • Acknowledge the generational changes that effect society – increased gun violence, bullying, domestic violence, etc. Children have a lot more to deal with today.
  • Bring awareness of the cost of lost innocence of children. Many children witness and experience violence with few outlets or tools for dealing with that trauma.
  • Reflect the 7 Resiliencies – protective factors that help one move forward from adversity
  • Applaud and acknowledge role models in the community who have used the 7 Resiliencies and have recovered from trauma.

During the project’s programming, youth discussed very personal issues such as sexual abuse, being victims of violence, having friends or family commit suicide, bullying, etc.   Skilled workshop facilitators guided these discussions allowing a space for dialogue, understanding, and healing. Participants were provided with resources and information when needed about where to turn for help when appropriate.