Kids, Artist Team Up Paint Mural Protesting Immigration Policies In East Harlem

The colorful mural, which is currently in the Community Education Center’s gym being assembled, depicts the flags from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and several of the countries included in President Trump’s travel ban list.

Program Executive Director Jeff Ginsberg said to sources that the mural is meant to deliver a message of inclusion.

“We can’t support our students if we don’t support who they are and where they’re from,” Ginsberg said. “We’re celebrating that New York City is an immigrant city.”

Vega, 61, is best known for his public artworks including a mosaic he designed for a subway station at 110th St. and Lexington, and another he created for the Pregones Theater in the Bronx.

The veteran artist designed the mural at Ginsberg’s urging in January, soon after Trump issued his executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Vega then spent a week inviting more than 200 East Harlem students — mostly from immigrant families — to help finish the mural at his workspace at East Harlem Community Education Center’s gym.

“Instead of anxiety and fear, we are being proactive,” Vega said. “It’s important for people to feel that they have a voice.”

The mural, measuring 60 feet tall by 14 feet wide, will be attached to the side of Community Education Center’s Second Ave. building.

“It was life-changing, to be able to make a difference like that,” said Angeli Jagdeo, 17, a senior at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics high school whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Guyana.

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"We re-imagine, recreate, and redeem cultural omissions and misrepresentations of Blackness, for the culture. ...." This post is made in partnership with British Pathé.

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