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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Gabrielino student artists create for “LA vs. Hate” campaign

    By Halle Fukawa | Editor in Chief

       This year, five Gabrielino High School graphic design students participated in the LA vs. Hate campaign. At a press conference on Nov. 20, the artwork was showcased by the City of San Gabriel.

       LA vs. Hate is a community-driven campaign run by the Human Relations Commission that encourages the use of artwork to fight against hate. According to the LA vs. Hate website, the campaign seeks to “address the normalization of hate and inspire people to stand up to it, [to] build understanding about what constitutes hate and how to report it, [and to] use cultural strategy and art to connect with residents in an authentic and meaningful way.”

       The website showcases colorful and provocative artwork centered around fighting against and reporting instances of hate and discrimination in Los Angeles.

       When Graphic Design teacher Terri Hopper learned about the organization, she contacted LA vs. Hate about allowing high school participants before opening the opportunity to her Graphic Design 2 class. 

       “Many of my students have experienced hate in some form or another.  I thought it was important to bring attention to their experiences,” explained Hopper. “[I wanted to] not only to showcase the great work of my students, but to bring the problem of hate to the forefront and combat that through art.”

       Although the campaign advocates for the eradication of all forms of hate against marginalized groups such as LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities, racial and ethnic discrimination stands at the forefront.  Following the Black Lives Matter protests that began in May after the killing of George Floyd, the rise in hate crimes and hate speech, as well as the subsequent rise in the demand for accountability, led to organizations like LA vs. Hate to focus on racially motivated issues.

          “Hate crimes are not new, but some of the ones that pushed me to create my poster included the long standing cruelty and discrimination against African Americans and the recent increase of hate-motivated attacks on Asian Americans due to COVID-19,” stated sophomore Mandy Tan. “What I hope my poster and this campaign will be able to do is unite people of different backgrounds and make a stand against hate.”

       Though all designed with the same goal in mind, each student’s piece remained unique to the specific issues of hate they felt the most strongly about. 

         The campaign is meaningful to me because I want to be involved in something that helps alleviate conflicts in this world,” said sophomore Joshua Liu. “I hope my artwork and the campaign will be able to end prejudice and end violence on others.”

       Students used photo collages, vivid graphics, and bold statements to express their goals of unity. Senior Lily Situ uses her piece to showcase the importance of diverse groups standing together.

       “Since the campaign partners with communities from other districts in LA County, it represents a diverse group of people who stand up to hate. And that diversity was something that I wanted to portray in my poster,” explained Situ. “Being involved means that I can contribute to ending hate and help build respect in our community.”

       Although there is no way to know how much of an impact these pieces will have, the student artists are certain that their effort will be the first step into preventing the normalization of hate in Los Angeles. 

       “It is important to not only acknowledge but actively work against discrimination. Because everyone experiences hate, and just because you don’t need to worry about it as much as someone else, doesn’t mean you should ignore it,” stated Vanessa Wu, sophomore. “The campaign spreads the resources to report hate and unite as a diverse community.”

         During the press conference on Nov. 20, the students’ artwork was accompanied by a brief description of their goal and intention behind the work as students and as community members. 

       “Ironically enough, hate doesn’t discriminate, it can affect anyone and everyone,” wrote Jonathan Du, junior, in his description. “Many of us come from diverse and different backgrounds, but we all are a part of this community.” 

       The continued shelter-in-place has made it difficult for young artists to express themselves in the world, however with the use of online and social media-centered campaigns like LA vs. Hate, students are granted a pedestal to stand on and advocate for what they are passionate about. 

       “Students need a voice,” stated Hopper. “Art provides that voice.”

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    Gabrielino student artists create for “LA vs. Hate” campaign