Pro-immigrant mural defaced

August 4, 2009

CHICAGO--In the city's largely Latino Pilsen neighborhood, hate graffiti nearly ruined a pro-immigrant mural in late July.

The mural, titled "Declaration of Immigration," is an addition to a past exhibit on immigration by the National Museum of Mexican Art. It is located on a building shared by independent public radio station WRTE Radio Arte and the youth arts education group Yollocalli (whose members painted the mural under the direction of muralist Salvador Jimenez).

Part of the mural, backed by images of barbed wire, says "National Security Is Used to Foster Inter Ethnic Tension." The vandals crossed part of this phrase out and spray-painted "LIES" next to it. Beneath that statement, they added, "MEXICANS ARE RACIST."

Jocelyn Sida, the producer of "First Voice Without Borders," a pro-immigrant show on Radio Arte, said that it is tragic there are such hateful, childish acts against a group of people in any neighborhood. "This shows much of the lack of unification that Radio Arte is trying to battle with its message of [being] pro-immigrant [rights] and unity," Sida said.

The vandalism also shows that many of those who are anti-immigrant believe that all undocumented immigrants are Mexican, when in reality undocumented immigrants come from all across the world. According to Sida:

The economic crisis must have played a roll; it seems that everyone is trying to blame the crisis on the first target that they can think of. This needs to stop.

What is most hurtful is that this art is not done by the government or by a politician. This piece of art was being completed by a group of young artists. Obviously, the defacers of this mural did not think about the consequences. They are vandalizing the hearts of a generation of youth.

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