WATERLOO, Ia (KWWL) — The Youth Art Team teamed up with Lowell and Kingsley Elementary School students, using chalk and paint to create a 3,000 square foot long mural that’s full of history and meaning to the community.
The crowd cheering “our freedom story” as the name of the mural is finally revealed.
Third graders and kids from the youth art team spoke to 12 black Waterloo residents who lived in during a rather turbulent time.
Zariah Bennett from Lowell elementary describes her conversation with one resident in particular.
“One question i remember asking her was, ‘Was it hard being black back then?’ and she said ‘Yes’ because when they would go to sit-ins, black people weren’t able to go,” Bennett said.
Zariah tells me she used red behind me here to represent anger and the squiggly lines to represent confusion, all dating back to the civil rights movement in Waterloo.
“…and we got to hear most of the things that they saw and heard about,” Bennett said.
Lead teacher at Kingsley Elementary Rachel Nosbisch says connecting her students with the past is vital.
“We sometimes forget about our place, our community, and how we fit in it. Our past, our present, because our students are our future,” Nosbisch said.
Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart believes in the importance of youth expression.
“We can learn a lot from our young people today, taking a look at the mural of freedom that they created it is so awe-inspiring and hearing their voices is absolutely tremendous,” Hart said.
Both the Mayor and Nosbisch agree that this learning is paramount, so we won’t see the same segregation we know from the civil rights movement.