Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project
Caltrans blockade released after advocacy, resolution, and agreement.
After months of advocacy, Hoover elementary students will celebrate their triumph with city and state leaders at their school. Caltrans and local non-profit Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) have finally come to an agreement.
The project stood at a halt for nearly a year, not only affecting projects led by AHC but many artists and agencies across the state. When Senator Nancy Skinner and other policymakers received letters from the children pleading their case, the Senator didn’t stand by. For months she urged Caltrans leadership to figure out a way to move the project forward. Caltrans District Director Bijan Sartipi became an ally and put pressure on his team. The city of Oakland and Caltrans are finalizing their maintenance agreement which is the final step. The Maintenance agreement will go to City Council on November 7th and the project aims to begin November 27th. Hoover students will soon understand how their advocacy set the stage for new agreements and policies that will have long-lasting effects for art that beautifies the bleak walls of our state highways.
Hoover students will end 2017 knowing that their voice matters and that they can impact policy leaders and their community. Fifth-grader Angelly exemplified this spirit in her letter to Caltrans: "It is important for the community to recognize elementary students' work. We work hard to plan. We are very enthusiastic about this. We need your approval because we really want to inspire others and maybe others will inspire others. We are bright students and we can do it!"
Although challenging, the legal struggle that beset osh Mural 4 and its resolution through activism and grassroots support is a heartening example of the power of people to change their world and making it a brighter and more colorful place.
The students of the Hoover youth leadership group created the concepts behind the superheroes that will be featured in the upcoming mural design. AHC and the students were highlighted in the California Museum in Sacramento. Because of their activism they were visited by Senator Nancy Skinner and were invited to tour the capital house and see the exhibit there that featured their work.