February 6th marked the official reveal of the new Ethnic Studies mural near the G-wing. The school brought out balloons, a podium, plenty of food, and a red and gold ribbon to celebrate the occasion. Three members of the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees came to view the mural. Principal Karl Loosekoot, painter and M-A ‘09 alum Jose Castro, and the mural’s designer, junior Celine Chien*, spoke about the mural.
The mural honored M-A’s new Ethnic Studies class, where students designed murals depicting M-A’s “culture, identities, history, struggles, and triumphs” for their 2021 winter final. Chien researched each symbol she included in the mural. She said, “In Ethnic Studies, we learned about immigration patterns, analyzed M-A’s own history and racial composition, and even read articles about our school from the M-A Chronicle, and I wanted to be able to encapsulate all of that within this piece of art.”
The mural depicts a visual timeline, from the indigenous Ramaytush Ohlone people on the left, through immigration waves, to progressive organizations and movements like the United Farm Workers of America on the right.
Castro said, “The mural is about reminding people that we all breathe the same air, drink the same water, get happy and get sad, and we can get together during those times of adversity and sadness,” he said. Castro often worked until 10 pm with small paint brushes to give incredible detail and legible writing to the mural; he gave thanks to the custodians in particular for making the process as smooth as possible.
Losekoot said, “The mural represents the many different voices that are part of this community and that we are growing and wanting to develop as a stronger voice. Nothing can represent it better right now.”
SUHSD Board of Trustees President Shawneece Stevenson and trustees Richard Ginn and Carrie DuBois also came to the celebration. Stevenson said, “When I see this mural, I see the beauty standing out, and our four communities coming together in one school. There is strength in diversity.”
Losekoot said, “The mural means progress towards including more voices, seeing more voices, and incorporating those voices into who we are. It’s here forever now, and all the voices represented here represent part of this campus.”
*Celine Chien is a journalist at the M-A Chronicle