Building Bridges, Not Fences by Chaka Mkali & Others

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Local organizer Chaka Mkali led a team of students from Waite House who had survived the 35W bridge collapse to paint this mural as an act of healing and remembrance. The mural is on the west wall of New York Plaza Produce on Lake Street in Minneapolis, where Artemio Trinidad-Mena, one of the 13 people killed in the collapse, worked as a salesman.

The students from Waite House were on the school bus that sat precariously perched on a partially collapsed section of the bridge. Younger students worked on a mural at Intermedia arts while high school students worked on the New York Plaza Produce mural. Both murals focused on the theme of building bridges, not fences.

The Lake Street mural includes flags reflecting the diversity of the community. It also features a prominent door:

“On the bus they were on there was a back door that was busted and needed to be fixed,” says Mkali. “They were always talking about how it needed to be fixed. When the bridge collapsed, it was that door in the back of the bus — because it was broken — that allowed them to get out quickly and safely.”

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