One week ago, the applause of over two hundred and fifty community members echoed through the 580 West Street underpass, in celebration of the completion of the 3rd mural of the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project and in commemoration and honoring of Antonio Ramos, our fallen soldier, artist, friend, brother and son, taken September 29, 2015, while painting.
Aeeshah and Kokomon Clottey
Several people spoke on behalf of the organization, including Co-Founders Aeeshah and Kokomon Clottey, Executive Director Amana Harris, Art Director David Burke, and Lead Artist Javier Rocabado.
Their statement was clear - that this project represents the beauty, passion and solutions that exist in Oakland that are created and implemented by the community. This mural showcases the depth of talent, visions of hope and peace, and powerful voices, that too often are cast aside but have long existed in Oakland. Enough is enough was the message of
|Leano, Antonio's Brother
Antonio's brother, Leano, preaching a truth so real about the type of society we live in now. His words swept a man off his feet, brought people to their knees and tears to their eyes. His message of "innermies", a concept Antonio had created, to search for answers inside of yourself rather than outside, to get involved in the community and to be aware of the power and knowledge within the self, encouraged us all to be the change that we would like to see in our lives.
|(Left) David Burke, (Right) Javier Rocabado
Politicians shared their support of the project and that efforts like these are essential in Oakland. Mayor Libby Schaaf reflected that this tragedy occurring in the midst of the project shows "everything that's right about Oakland and everything that's wrong about Oakland". We must be ALL-IN as a city to stop the senseless killings
that happen too often, through providing the necessary resources for people to transform their lives. In fact,
Council President Lynette McElhaney publicly declared that she would grant AHC's vision to have a mural that includes Antonio's likeness as a superhero painted across the street from the current mural where he may watch over his final project for as long as they both shall stand.
This unveiling marks the completion of more than "just another mural"; this unveiling marks a step towards a brighter, more beautiful, more compassionate Oakland. The sheer number of people that gathered together under this small section of the 580 freeway on a Wednesday afternoon gives testament to the depth of concern and hope that the Oakland community has for its people.
AHC would like to thank everyone who followed and supported us on this long journey that started as a concept concocted by students of West Oakland Middle School and ended in a 4,000 square foot reality on West Street. We ask that you continue to show such passionate support as we work towards the creation of the next 4 Murals.
We would like to thank the following individuals and groups who offered support in various capacities.
National Endowment for the Arts
Councilmember At Large/Vice Mayor, Rebecca Kaplan
Council President, Lynette McElhaney
City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program
Thomas Long Foundation
City of Oakland Advocates
Dan Kalb, District 1 Councilmember
Representatives from CA Offices
Oakland Unite Team
Tanya Fuller Bryant
Fathers Against Drugs and Violence
Oakland Police Department
West Oakland Neighbors
St. Mary's Center
We would also like to thank St. Mary's Center, West Oakland Neighbors, GO Public Schools and EBALDC for helping keep the candles lit at the vigil that stands at the site of the mural.