Somos La Luz

“Somos La Luz” (We Are The Light)

We all love, laugh, cry and mourn. Each life is important and unique. Every life is incalculably more than just a number to be tallied up into a statistic.

The world is experiencing a terrible time. We are suffering through a global pandemic. You would expect that this should mean that we are all at the same risk of infection, but it has become evident that this is not the case. The virus finds it easier to spread among minorities and our society is set up to make it that way. Covid-19 has made the underlying inequity in our nation more evident now than ever.

In New York City the coronavirus is killing Hispanics and African Americans at double the rate that it is killing Whites and Asians. This might be due to the fact that the Hispanic and Black populations represent 75% of front-line city workers who are at high risk (more than60 percent of people who work as cleaners and caretakers are hispanic, and more than 40 percent of transit employees are black). I am creating this piece because of the disproportionate amount of Latinos that have died in the area.

But this is not only about New York City, the disproportionate loss of life is now evident across the nation. The anti-immigrant discourse that has been omnipresent during the last three years has serious repercussions on the health of minority communities: the lack of health insurance, the fear of deportation and the inability to pay, discourages undocumented migrants from promptly calling for help or to attempt accessing a hospital. The disparate rate of new cases and death between their low income and wealthier zip codes across the nation is evidence of this. Not everyone
can decide to not go to work, not everyone can just stay home and still have the money to buy food and necessities for months on end.

Economic inequality is a crucial factor that influences diet and in the long run, compromises the immune system. Isolation and social distancing is impossible when there are large extended families or many unrelated people forced to share a small apartment due to theirfinancial plight.

This project is an homage to Hispanic caregivers that risk their lives to save others. It highlights their contribution while at the same time calling for action. These are the people that make our city move, the people that care for us, these are the people that contribute socially, culturally and economically to the nation. They are part of this “American Experiment”, just like all the waves of immigration that came before them. In the year 2020, where hindsight should not be clearer, it is amazing to me that we must continue to ask ourselves…how it is that minorities today still have to suffer the same injustices of the minorities of the past.

As an artist, I am committed to bringing attention to social issues that need to be addressed. The large-scale works that I have created around the world all convey that we need to come together to make the world a better place. The size of my large-scale works is directly related to the importance of the theme.

This artwork “Somos La Luz” strives to give deeper meaning to the loss of a stranger’s life, it strives to make evident the importance of every life, it strives to remind us that we are all part of the “One Nation, Under God.”

Photo Credit: GreenPoint Innovations (Stephen Donofrio) / Eduardo Amorim for Gerada Art

It takes a village, thank you to all of the wonderful people who assisted with the creation of this mural:

Carlos Rodriguez, Annie Middleton, Sara Valenzuela, Linda Copeland, Isaac Reynose, Marilyn Mendoza, Mateo Guerrero, Sonya, Danielle Mastrion

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