Jul 29

The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly

by: Eurhi Jones

For several years, the Climate Justice Initiative of Mural Arts has been bringing together a diverse array of climate activists from around the Philadelphia region. “Climate Justice in Lenapehoking”, a mural that shows harms and solutions to the climate emergency, is the result of these wide ranging conversations about indigenous rights, air pollution, tree planting, colonization, land sovereignty, urban farms and much, much more.

On the evening of Thursday, July 13th, the mural project held a public paint event. About 75 people convened to paint and listen to activists about climate issues. The fabrication team, led by artist Eurhi Jones, prepared colors and polytab panels so that dozens of people could participate in the creation of the mural safely on the ground, painting on tables.

One of the speakers,  Zulene Mayfield, is a founder of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL),  She spoke about her many decades of fighting for the health and human rights for people in the city of Chester. Chester is home to the largest incinerator in the US.  A large percent of the trash from Philadelphia and Delaware County is burned (for profit) by the Covanta company in Chester, contributing to soaring rates of asthma and cancer in this mostly African American community. Zulene spoke of challenges as well as the triumphs of her organization, and implored Philadelphia residents to join CRCQL’s fight, as air pollution knows no borders. The CRCQL organization is represented in the mural.

Another speaker, Denise Bright Dove Ashton-Dunkley, of the Nanticoke Lenape tribe, spoke about the importance of the indigenous worldview to the discussion of climate solutions. She also spoke about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMWI), an under-reported nationwide epidemic, indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people are 10 times more likely to disappear or be murdered than other ethnicities in the US.

Red dresses, a symbol of MMIW awareness, appear in the mural near the image of a pipeline because many of these abductions occur in relation to the temporary worker camps near pipeline construction sites. 

The Climate Justice Mural is being painted at 1800 N. American Street, in a former food distribution warehouse, which currently houses NextFab maker space and artist’s studios, the Resource Exchange, Beaty American, Keystone Bike shop, the Center for Creative Works and the Museum for Art in Wood. The Climate Justice Initiative is grateful to all of these tenants for supporting the mural. For more about the CJI mural project, partners and programming please go to: https://www.climatejusticeinitiative.com/

 

See images from the Paint Day 

  • The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly paint day and program, July 13, 2023. Photo by Troy Bynum.

  • The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly paint day and program, July 13, 2023. Photo by Troy Bynum.

  • The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly paint day and program, July 13, 2023. Photo by Troy Bynum.

  • The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly paint day and program, July 13, 2023. Photo by Troy Bynum.

  • The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly paint day and program, July 13, 2023. Photo by Troy Bynum.

  • The Power of Painting for a Fossil-Free Philly paint day and program, July 13, 2023. Photo by Troy Bynum.

Last updated: Aug 17, 2023

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