Art breathes life into all things we know. In 2013, I co-organized Michigan’s first Arab Mural Project. It was the first of its kind dedicated to the history and contributions of the Arab American community of Hamtramck and greater Detroit area.
OneHamtramck, the leading organization of this project invited me to join the steering committee due to the lack of female Yemeni/Arab/Muslim leadership and voice present at the table. Needless to say, the project was driven by values such as social justice and education.
It was one of my best experiences in community organizing to date. It was a valuable opportunity for me to work in a diverse setting with people of all ages and background with little commonalities. I was the youngest member of the team, at the age of 20. It was also an opportunity to lead a community engagement process to collect community feedback and create something that reflected the information we collected. The $20,000 mural project was also fully funded by local small businesses and leaders. Not to mention that the artist is none other than the infamous Chilean born and Brooklyn raised, Dasic Fernandez who blessed us with his magical skills and painted our community’s vision to life so perfectly.
To date, there have been hundred of visitors and tourists of the beautiful mural. People are able to transcend boundaries, eat new foods, and familiarize themselves with new cultures and information. There is news that there is a new Bangladeshi coming to town as well.
Public art is a powerful and subtle means to create and sustain social change. I look forward to leading similar efforts in diverse neighborhoods of my Detroit community.
To read more about OneHamtramck or about the project in the news, visit these links: