This article is from our associated project, CreativeResistance.org
A Giant two-block mural about oil trains and climate change, cherishing water, and building community solidarity was dedicated in Richmond, CA, on August 9, 2014, during the final day of Richmond’s”Our Power” Convention.
“Water Writes” is the first major initiative of the Estria Foundation, an Oakland-based non-profit that raises social consciousness for critical human and environmental issues through public art projects.
From the Estria Foundation website: The theme of water connects participating communities [in ten cities around the planet] and documents current local and international water crises.
Through our collective creative process, we engage youth, artists, organizers, and environmental activists to create imagery which reflects the relationship between the people and the water of each area. Community members are invited to a public paint day and able to participate in bringing these ideas into reality. The final murals are accessible to view by the public and also to communities across the world through video documentation and the Internet. We hope to spark discussions and cross collaboration between the participating cities and water warriors across the world.
Through painting with some of the communities most affected by water rights issues, the Estria Foundation shares its artistic techniques to assist ongoing grassroots struggles, create a global platform to raise awareness, and inspire a movement.
From Our Power Campaign, Communities United for a Just Transition:
In the face of poverty and pollution, Richmond, California community members are on the frontlines of organizing to create a clean, democratic and equitable economy. This grassroots effort, driven by Richmond’s low-income communities of color, is leading Richmond out of the shadows of the Chevron Refinery into the sunlight of a resilient and thriving local clean energy future. Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) are anchoring the Our Power work in Richmond, CA.
Richmond is a working class, and predominantly people of color community impacted by decades of environmental blight and economic divestment. It is home to a 3,000 acre Chevron Oil Refinery – the largest stationary greenhouse gas emitter in the State of California and the effects of this facility are compounded by cumulative health impacts causing kids to have higher asthma rates in the region. We also suffer high rates of unemployment and home foreclosures. In the midst of these challenges, we are building strength to exploit some key opportunities.