IBPA Anti-Racist Mural in Imperial Beach
Imperial Beach is the most southwestern city in the United States of America. The city sits on the US/Mexico border, wraps around the Tijuana Estuary, and rests at the end of the San Diego Bay. IB has its own community of diverse people, many of whom are well acquainted.. There is an unspoken "we share this place" culture in the undeniably unique city. Some knew IB when Grocery Outlet was a movie theater and when WestCoast Cafe was home of the best french toast in town. Us locals have had the opportunity to feel like we are in our own world where the heat hits us last, the beach has plenty of room to dance alone to the sound of the waves, and everything you need is almost within walking distance.
Prejudice isn't something the people of IB are excluded from experiencing. Conversations about intolerable treatment are happening all over the world in 2020, and locals have something to say about it. In moments of oppression, standing in silence isn't an option. This mural is a chance to make people aware that racism isn't and never will be welcomed in Imperial Beach, the last beach city of its kind.
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Read about some of the symbolism the mural presents below.
Phase One: The Featured Wall
Gianna Floyd is George Floyd's daughter. Gianna's face seemed fit to be displayed on the featured wall of the building as a representation for the resilience of Black children. When one person is lost at the hands of police brutality, they are a sister, or a brother, or a mother, or a father, or an aunt, or an uncle, or a friend. The history of Black people contains a consistent narrative of using pain as motivation to make change.
Gianna is a warrior every day she lives passed the loss of her father.
The plants represent life and being guarded by our mother earth. A reminder that our experiences on this earth are of this earth, and spirit is infinitely larger.
Death, bloodshed. Directed at her as a representation of Black people being targeted.
Life, health. Shielding Gianna from the red, offering protection.
Calls attention to the green and red.
The Ring Statistics:
Outer Ring - 13% of US population is Black
Inner Ring- 1/3 of the prison population is Black
Center Ring - Black people are 3x more likely to be killed by police
Phase Two: Faces of Children
The awareness of our experiences of being different because of what we look like starts early. Many black parents must have "if you get stopped by the police" talk with their kids, and it's an important one that could save children's lives.
The faces of two children were chosen because children represent resilience. The also represent joy. They look in the direction of the next wall, which has a theme of joy, to inspire them to be whatever they choose.
Too often the black narrative revolves around suffering and pain.
This corner hopes to inspire more conversations about black joy and black resilience.
The White Symbols:
Although the white symbols look like they mean something on this wall, they are playful shapes inspired by African Kuba patterns.
Phase Three: More Than A Color
Much representation of black people in the media isn't reflective of who we really are. This wall is a reminder that we are more than we are assumed to be. There is an immense variety in our culture. Some of us are soccer players, some of us love yoga, some of us meditate, some of us have children or are expecting, some of us have tech jobs, some of us are professional swimmers, some of us love reading, some of us are planning for life with a partner, some o us love plants, some of us pay video games, some of us love vegetables. To name a few!
I hope that anyone who looks at this wall sees a piece of themselves. It helps us to remember than when we lose a person to police brutality, we lose a person just like us.
The White Symbols:
This wall is also inspired by Kuba Patterns but makes reference to Keith Haring, who does a lot of work with figures similar to the ones used for this wall. On the left side, letters are hidden in the symbols: SLFDFND. This can be "self defined" or "self defend."
Phase Four: The Community Wall
This wall is all about community. People from different parts of San Diego came to the wall and picked between the 5 colors we use used for the walls. The hand prints represent unity and support as we move forward and anticipate change for the future. Adult hands and kids handprints are included on this wall. Hand prints are continuously added to this wall. If you want to participate, feel free to call (619)862-0335.
Phase Five: The Motherland
This corner of the mural is about the motherland. It's important to remember where we com from so that we can remember where to go if we ever feel lost. The more time goes on, the easier it becomes to disconnect from Africa, and this is why this whole is dedicated to the place we come from. There is detail on the shape of the coast, so that we can pay close attention to the details on the edges of the continent. The background white images are inspired by African Kuba patterns.
Phase Five: Mama Africa
Mother of All:
This wall is meant to represent the beginning of the diaspora story. The woman in the middle is the personification of Mama Africa. She stands at the shore of a beach at the coast of Africa and watches a slave ship sale away. The bushes on both sides of Mama Africa represent the vegetation on the shoreline. The dots represent the sand. The crown laying on the sand is the crown of Yemaya, an African Deity, or Orisha who is the goddess of the ocean. She is asked to guard the ship while it sails away. Above the left bush is a symbol called Sankofa. It's a West African Adinkra symbol which symbolizes that we don't know where we are going unless we look at where we come from. This wall is about getting to know the place that we were stolen from, and to not forgot that our culture was erased when we were taken away from the land we came from. It's okay to learn about it and it's okay to resonate with it. It's all waiting for us.