By Bernie Tafoya

CHICAGO (CBS) — Some West Side elementary school students are letting it be known through their artwork how they feel about the violence that has plagued their community.

Students at Spencer Technology Academy have been working on a peace mural on a wall in their school’s main hallway. Art teacher Shannon Miller applied for a grant to get it done and says she let students, “plan what the mural was going to do and what the mural was going to say.”

Miller says student-artists are 5-to-13 years old. She says about a dozen of them have shown up consistently to work on the project over the past two weeks. One of the students came up with the message that’ll be stenciled on top of the mural by Thursday:

“Interrupt the Violence, Not Our Future.”

13-year old 8th grader Diamond Potts says she likes working on the mural. Potts says that, through the mural, “I’m just trying to say, stop the killing, stop the violence. Kids care about their future.”
Potts says she wants to be a veterinarian.

(Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

(Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

Teacher Shannon Miller says students are tired of growing up with violence all around them.

The large mural includes a painted sun flanked by pictures with paintings on them. Those include a picture of el tracks and underneath them, a painting of a dove, a picture of the Chicago skyline and next to it a painting of the two-fingered symbol for peace, and a picture of street signs at the corner of Lavergne and Maypole where the school is located in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side.
8th grader Diamond Potts says the, “doves represent hope and peace and that’s just what we want.”

(Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

(Credit: Bernie Tafoya)

By Thursday, when it’s finished, the mural will also include wording: Interrupt the Violence…Not Our Future.

The school also intends to show a video Thursday on reclaiming the Austin neighborhood.

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