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  • Writer's pictureErica Stella

Projectivity and Damien Mitchell Honor John Lewis in Staten Island

US Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, and civil rights leader John Lewis passed away on July 17, 2020. Lewis was one of the "Big Six" leaders of groups who organized the 1963 March on Washington, and the last surviving one at the time of his death. John Lewis worked tirelessly until his last days to bring justice and equality to all Americans, and the fight will continue in his honor. This week he will lay in state, and his body ceremoniously crossed the bridge in Selma one last time over the weekend. Join the petition to change the name to the John Lewis Bridge HERE.

To honor the greatness of this man, Damien Mitchell took the opportunity to pay tribute during his upcoming mural with Projectivity in Staten Island, NY. He was added to a list of great artists to paint in #artistalleysi in the parking lot of Richmond Hood Co. While wanting to convey a message related to the Black Lives Matter movement, it wasn't until this event, that Damien knew he would honor the representative justly.

Richmond Hood Co. is Staten Island's premier purveyors of footwear, apparel, hats, accessories & skate goods. Open: 12-8pm Daily, located at 827 Castleton Avenue, Staten Island, NY.

“To those who have said, ‘Be patient and wait,’ we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now! We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of seeing our people locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler, ‘Be patient.’ How long can we be patient? We want our freedom, and we want it now.”

- John Robert Lewis


Damien Mitchell WIP at Richmond Hood Company in Staten Island, NYC (Photo by Kristy Calabro)


The recent history of police brutality is not new to Staten Island. It is the home of the Garner family who continue to fight for the justice of Eric Garner who was murdered by the NYPD in 2014, expressing the sentiment before his last breath, "I Can't Breathe". Vince Ballentine paid tribute to his daughter Erica, who was a large voice in the BLM movement here in NYC, and across the country. She passed away in 2017 from cardiac arrest. This mural can be found at 73 Wave Street.

Vince Ballentine portrait of Erica Garner for Projectivity in Staten Island (Photo by Kristy Calabro)


Both of these artists were supported by the Staten Island collective Projectivity, whose mission is to provide education, resources, and opportunities for the public to engage and pursue their passion for the media and arts.

*Photos by Kristy Calabro

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