Black Girl Joy Mural - Lillie May Carrol Jackson Charter School
Throughout the pandemic, the Heart of the School Fund has supported schools’ COVID-friendly projects and site enhancements such as supporting the creation of a bike club, developing a teacher wellness room, creating outdoor classrooms and supporting professional development to enrich classroom instruction and student learning.
A great example of this was a project at Lillie May Carrol Jackson, a charter school serving girls in grades 5-8. To welcome back their students and families as they returned to campus for in-person learning, Principal Fleming applied for and received grant funding to include a Black Girl Joy mural to beautify the school’s outdoor learning space. This participatory community art project - both in process and product - aimed to honor and celebrate black women and girls and served as a critical community building strategy of re-engagement and reconnection following the prolonged school closure. LMCJ worked with community artist Jaz Erenberg to bring together the 350-scholar community, their families and staff in a creative process aimed at uplifting the voices of their all-girl student body and incorporating their words into the design and implementation process of the installation.
Take a look at what Principal Fleming, the artist Jaz Erenberg, and two middle school students had to say about the project at the official unveiling of the mural:
“You came up with the colors, you came up with ideas but more than anything you dug inside of yourselves and you thought ‘I live this experience everyday so what does this mean for me?’ This space is a representation of your ideas and your work and you should be super proud about how your voice is elevated within our school community. We continue to acknowledge and know and recognize and find opportunities where we can lift your voice and this is just one of those ways.” - Principal Rosalind Fleming’s opening remarks at the mural unveiling, addressing her students
“The process was really to have it be community engaged. It had to be the vision of the scholars and really speak to their experience at the school. So we started with a lesson to help each crew/family to unpack their core values as a group and then we took the top three core values of each group and sort of built phrases around those ideas and that’s what’s included in the mural. ” - Jaz Erenberg, artist
"The quote that I came up with is our last quote at the end of our LMCJ pledge which is ‘I can, I will, end of story.’ It feels amazing [to see the words that I came up with and artwork at my school]. I can honestly say that it was really good to represent my school, my crew leader and everything that everybody has worked so hard for.” - Makayla Garrett, 6th grade
“[The mural] makes me feel happy because it lets me know that my school cares about me.” - Taylore Moore, 6th grade