Letter to the editor: Mural support

To the editor:

I enthusiastically support a proposed mural for the Lawrence Public Library to celebrate the daily life and work, past and present, of Womxn of Color (WoC) in Lawrence. The proposed mural is exciting because, in keeping with the best of community murals, the design team members share identities with the people whose histories they will depict. Importantly, the use of “x” in women indicates inclusion of individuals who are non-binary, femme, trans or WoC.

Some years ago, I traveled across Kansas with my colleague Dave Loewenstein, documenting over 600 public murals for our book “Kansas Murals: A Traveler’s Guide” (2006, University Press of Kansas). While Kansas murals are surprisingly diverse in themes, approaches and creators, still the majority depict the stories of white Kansans, focusing on pioneers, farming, the railroad and other references to white settlement. Lawrence’s WoC mural will be an important addition to our state’s mural collection. It is past time that Kansas murals depict an inclusive range of stories on our prized public buildings.

The WoC mural adds an important educational and aesthetic feature to our public library that will be cherished for years to come. Murals not only depict histories; they also represent historical moments. This mural will be seen in the future as one that was painted during a time when racism, sexism and homophobia seemed on the rise, a time when the Lawrence community chose to prominently support a different vision, one of justice and inclusion.

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