Unity Mural Project discusses EMU's past

The Unity Mural Project hosted a forum to discuss Eastern Michigan University's past. The forum was attended by roughly 20 students and staff in McKenny Ballroom, March 20.

The Unity Mural Project was organized by several students and staff following the several incidents of racist vandalism on EMU’s campus, fall 2016.

The Eastern Michigan University Unity Mural Project team hosted a forum to discuss EMU’s past. The “past” forum was designed to encourage ideas from the community that will be incorporated into the design of the unity mural, which is set to be painted by winter 2018 along the wall of the common space in McKenny Hall.

“The forums are a place where EMU community can share their ideas, and the project is an effort to create a mural representing the past, present, and future of overcoming adversity within the EMU community for all to cherish.” said Steven Kwasny, EMU student.

The design concept for the mural will include lineage of the university, past, present and future. Lead student organizers are Steven Kwasny and Leangle Runels. Tytiana Steele is lead mural designer with help from Sasha Zein. Diane Brinson-Days has been a lead staff organizer, and Virginia Camille Zimmerman-Ouellette has been a lead alumni organizer. The project has the support of over 25 student organizations and additional administration and faculty support.

The “past” forum is the first in a series of forums. Dr. Mark Higbee, EMU professor, was the guest speaker for the the first half of the “past forum”

“The best murals are the ones the say something to the people that look at them. There is a lot about this school that needs to be said, so my advice to the unity mural team is to make sure that there is something in the mural that people can argue about what it means. If there is no meaning then it is art that no one will pay attention to ,” said Higbee.

Following the guest speaker, for the second half of the forum, attendees at each table discussed potential ideas to incorporate into the “past” segment of the mural. Later everyone came back together to share and record the ideas each table had come up with.

The audience was prompted to come up with things that have brought the campus community together in the past, and several people mentioned Trayvon Martin’s death, and the more recent racial vandalism incidents. To get off the topics of pain bringing people together several attendees mentioned how places like the student center and the library, and events like Summer Jam and Fajita Fest bring people together.

The “future” forum will be hosted Tuesday, March 28 in McKenny Ballroom with guest speaker Dr. Ebrahim Soltani, EMU professor.

“The EMU Community students, faculty, staff, and alumni should attend Tuesday's Forum to give their input on how they desire the future to look at EMU regarding cultural life,"said Kwasny, "All opinions will be collected contributing towards the Unity Mural's design.” 

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