'We should just come together.' Murfreesboro kids work with art therapist, design mural about racism

Murfreesboro mural McFadden Community Center
Posted at 9:08 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 22:08:11-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — The ups and downs of the last year have been difficult for kids to process.

Students at the McFadden Community Center in Murfreesboro are working with an art therapist to process some of the unrest in the world.

"It's been amazing," said Mackenzie Hall, 13. "I've never had this type of opportunity to do this and probably none of these children in here have."

This week, the students picked up a conversation about racism that started with Inspiritus Middle Tennessee in the spring.

"They need to know their voices matter, their message is just as important as an adult [and] that they are having their own full life experiences just as much as we are," said Devon Billions-Gomez, an art therapist.

About 40 kids submitted ideas for a mural in the community center.

"With art therapy you don't have to have all the proper words for anything you're feeling, anything you've experienced. You can be expressive and it doesn't have to be concrete," Billions-Gomez said.

On Monday, the students began painting a vibrant rainbow, symbols that represent the sports they play and fists in different skin colors.

"Just because we're different skin colors, it doesn't mean that we got to change the world. There's a lot of good people out there," said Antonio Johnson, 11.

The students expressed a desire for racism to be erased.

"It's like, why are we still not getting along with eachother?" said Ja'Tavious Hathaway, a student participant. "I feel like we should just come together, help one another, help kids out. Help whoever."

To learn more about art therapy through Inspiritus click here.

"It made me think different about people, because I never knew they had that side of them, of pain and stuff, because half the time people don't show that type of thing and they actually showed it and it made me think I'm not alone," Hall said.