Want to...
Remember Those Who Have Died?


Feature Story ...

RIP

Warning: Drugs and Gangs Can Be Hazardous to Your Health.

That's the message of the memorial walls painted by taggers in the Bronx, N.Y.

The walls are commissioned by relatives to commemorate untimely deaths and warn young citizens. The streetscape is an advertisement for life and a reminder of what drugs and gangs can do to a community. It's in-your-face information.

Teams of local artists prepare the walls, sometimes painted at the spot where the person died. Watched by the neighbors and relatives of the dead, they build a picture that's part memorial, part community-building. Memorial services, sports tourneys and block parties are held in their shadow, giving testament to the fact that the deaths will not be forgotten.


Tune In ...

Read the paintings on the walls

In the Bronx, the specter of an untimely death, whether from shootings, drug overdoses, AIDS or gang violence, is a constant presence -- so common that even the local media don't cover them all. How do the people communicate their loss -- and remembrance?

Here, hundreds of painted murals now decorate neighborhood walls, serving as public memorials to the victims of gang violence, drugs, AIDS and sometimes just accidents or natural deaths. Some are portraits, some are symbols, but they all send a message.

The message? Don't forget. Don't forget friends and neighbors. Don't forget the victims of AIDS and drugs and street crime. "Every day it happens," says one graffiti artist. "It's not just people who died of gunshots. It's people who are dying of natural causes. People want the community not to forget them.

"People tend to forget and block things out," he says. "With murals, it's more like you see what's going on."


WelcomeAbout The American PromiseVisitor's GuideTeaching Guide
Teacher's ForumNewsletter ArchiveReferences + LinksContact UsHome
©2002 Farmers Insurance. All rights reserved.
Site Design: The Coyote Studio