Check Out the New Black History Month Banners in Arlington Heights!

Updated: Feb 10





From the Birmingham Children's March of 1963, to the Children's Peace Marches of the Black Lives Matter Movement, kids have made it known they will not be left out of the fight for an equitable future.


Under the theme, “Young People Leading the New Civil Rights Movement,” The Arlington Human Rights Commission (AHRC) called on artists of color to submit their work for use on light pole banners across town. The banners are part of the town’s observance of Black History Month 2022. The 12 new banners will be hung along Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington for the month of February.


Jasmine Milton's portraits of her peers lost to gun violence were a powerful reminder of the impact young people have on their communities. Many of them were active volunteers with bright futures. Our jury, consisting of AHRC Commissioner Crystal Haynes and Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture's artist-in-residence Chanel Chervil, believed Jasmine's work was thought-provoking and was a bold artistic design fit for the banner medium.


Also included but not shown here are banners by Ottoson Middle School 7th-graders Allegra Biagetti and Olivia Malgieri. Their designs were well composed and thoughtful. Each will receive a $500 scholarship.

From the artist Jasmine Milton:


Jasmine Milton

www.justjasminecollection.com

Instagram: @justjasminecollection

Facebook: @justjasminecollection

LinkedIn: Jasmine Milton


In Loving Memory

Artist Statement


In Loving Memory is a series of paintings used to bring visibility to those who are most vulnerable; black kids who are missing or dead in Massachusetts. When black people go missing in Massachusetts, who is looking for them? We commonly see people showcased in the news fit a specific demographic, and thus receive more assistance from law enforcement. With the lack of support, people are forced to seek help elsewhere at a cost they cannot afford. With private investigators out of the question, these families instead may call on their family members and other advocates for help spreading the word, but to no avail. The racial disparities in treatment of these cases remain a hindrance for black and low income communities.


Color theory is used to challenge the dichotomy between who these people were and how they were perceived. In fact, most of these kids have impacted their community in positive ways that deserve more recognition. Their portraits are painted, raw, with quick gestural strokes, on top a smooth, dynamic backdrop. By using bright colors, mixed with color blocking methods, we are able to identify the complexity of these peoples’ lives. Narrating the real stories of these people instead of a picture painted by their persecutor.


About 40% of missing persons cases involve people of color, according to The Black and Missing Foundation. This number may change when adding in Latino and Asian populations. The Black and Missing Foundation’s co-founder Derrica Wilson said people of color sometimes get misclassified when they go missing. Labeling them as “criminals”, “endangered runaways”, and showing their mugshots, are tactics used to shame these people for having problems. As if having a criminal background, or being a runaway, equates to being worthless. The artwork in this series suggests differently. These people were athletes, mothers, activists, students, leaders, go-getters and otherwise worthy.


So this begs the question, when black people go missing, who is looking for them?


Artwork Banner Descriptions


Kristopher

23.5x48 triangle banner

2021

Acrylic on Canvas


Kristopher Lewis was a sweet young boy from Dorchester, who loved hanging out with his friends. He was a 13 year old student at the Joseph Lee School when he disappeared. Last seen getting off his school bus, he never made it home. His mother couldn’t sleep looking for her son; handing out fliers, gathering search parties, and calling news reporters. To no avail, he has not been found.


David

23.5" x 48" triangle banner

2021

Acrylic on Canvas


David Senatus was a well-loved teammate and friend. He had a big personality with a great smile. He was a star athlete in Belmont High School’s Rugby team. He had the funniest sense of humor, was compassionate, and well respected. He died in what has been called an “accidental drowning”. What started off as a fun trip to Utah hanging out with friends, ended in sorrow because he “could not be saved” according to law enforcement.


Asia

23.5" x 48" triangle banner

2021

Acrylic on Canvas


Asia Clayton-Carter was last seen on May 24, 2021. She is a 15 year old female from Springfield, MA. She is biracial; Black and White, with blonde hair and brown eyes. There is no record of her story in the media resulting in having no support in finding her.


Jahaira

23.5" x 48" triangle banner

2021

Acrylic on Canvas


Jahaira DeAlto was a transgender woman activist that touched the lives of everyone in her community. She fought for transgender rights and was honored at a conference of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance in 2019. She was the Mother of House of Balenciaga, and took care of those who needed her. Jahaira says "I am the mother who raised the children whose rainbow sparkled too brightly and blinded their birth moms,". On May 2, 2021 She was fatally stabbed by a man in her home.


Jalajhia

23.5" x 48" triangle banner

2021

Acrylic on Canvas


Jalajhia Finklea, 18, member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe went missing in October 2020. She was taken by a man she knew across state lines and later found murdered in FL. MA state police obtained phone records leading them to her killer detailing his story of how he “snapped”, resulting in his death by cop. As rumors circulate, we’re still uncovering details of this story.


Kyrice

23.5" x 48" triangle banner

2021

Acrylic on Canvas


Kyrice Taylor was a black 19 yr old male from Mattapan, MA. He was last seen march 24, 2020. Not much of his story is told online, and he last posted on his soundcloud and twitter in February, one month before his reported disappearance.



The AHRC is planning a virtual talk with the artists from 6-7 PM on Tuesday, 2/15. Stay tuned for details on Facebook.

Arlington values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are committed to building a community where everyone is heard, respected, and protected.


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Email: ahrc@town.arlington.ma.us

Phone: 781-316-3250

By Mail: 27 Maple Street

Arlington, MA 02476