The art, which was unveiled this week in three cities across the U.S., is the result of a partnership between Black immigrant artists and Families Belong Together, which works to permanently end family separation and detention.

By Maressa Brown
July 30, 2020
Credit: Photo courtesy of Families Belong Together

In the midst of a global pandemic and resounding calls for social justice, artists are stepping forward to make an impression. Black immigrant artists have partnered with Families Belong Together, a coalition of nonprofits dedicated to ending family separation, to bring stunningly colorful, moving murals to three major metropolitan areas across the country. The artwork was unveiled in Miami, Florida, Houston, Texas, and Long Island, New York this week.

In Long Island, Haitian-American artist Marie E Saint-Cyr created a mural in Wyandanch focused on the growth of a Black woman, inspired by her immigration journey from Haiti to New York.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Families Belong Together

In Houston, Chukwunonso Ofili, a Nigerian-American artist, has painted a mural that highlights the potential paths a young Black girl could explore when she receives support from her family unit.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Families Belong Together

And in Miami, Jonathan Desrosiers, a Haitian-American artist, has created a mural focused on the bond between a mother, father, and child to highlight the foundation of this relationship and the importance of keeping families together.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Families Belong Together

According to a press release, the murals were created in an effort to "galvanize communities across the nation into a powerful movement to permanently end family separation and detention."

Kimberly Selden, the lead cultural organizer with Families Belong Together, elaborated, "Artistic projects of all kinds are part of the fabric of our society/culture and can carry a strong message with the ability to resonate with large audiences no matter what the medium. As ICE continues to deport immigrants and separate families in the wake of COVID-19, these murals represent a new narrative that illustrates the fight for the values that connect us—dignity, care, love, and respect."

Credit: Photo courtesy of Families Belong Together

The murals' unveiling also comes on the heels of a decision made by a federal judge that demanded ICE release children from their family jails by July 17, the deadline to reunite families was extended to July 27. It still remains unclear how ICE will implement the order to release all migrant children.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Families Belong Together

Families Belong Together is calling for people to demand the release of these children and their families, as well as support several organizations providing critical legal services to try to free the families. As the organization points out, with Black and non-Black immigrant communities continuing to contend with disproportionate violence from police and affects of the coronavirus pandemic, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Trump administration, the moment we're living through couldn't be more urgent. With hope, these powerful murals will serve to inspire and fire even more Americans up to stand up to the ongoing injustice faced by immigrant families.

You can find the murals at:

  • Long Island: 40 Station Dr, Wyandanch, NY 11798
  • Houston: 9745 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX 77036
  • Miami: NW 2nd Ave & NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127


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