‘Paint for No Hate’ Mural Project Draws Attention to Asian Hate Crimes

 Northwood High sophomore Zilin Jin created the selected design for the mural, part of which is shown in the mock-up above. The design conveys the vigor of youth-led social justice activism through bright swatches of color and an emphasis on unity.

Courtesy of Zilin Jin

Northwood High sophomore Zilin Jin created the selected design for the mural, part of which is shown in the mock-up above. The design conveys the vigor of youth-led social justice activism through bright swatches of color and an emphasis on unity.

Is a picture worth a thousand words? Junior Haruka Noda* certainly believes so.

Drawing inspiration from contemporary art, Noda aims to shed light on a rise in violence against Asian Americans after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in heading “Paint for No Hate,” a student-led city mural project.

Noda became determined to explore the connection between her passions for art and social justice after learning about how modern artists curate public art to incite social change in her Honors Modern and Contemporary Art class. Working alongside visual arts teacher Kearci Moir, who has taught Noda for the last three years, Noda invited high school students across IUSD to participate in outlining and painting the mural at the Palm Court Arts Complex in the Great Park from June 12 to June 13.

For the viewers in our audience for our mural, they should come to a conclusion that no matter how different we are — Asians, Black lives — we should all learn to respect each other and give people equity and inclusion, even though we are in a very diverse area.”

— Chloé Cha

Planning the mural’s painting process and location required Moir and Noda to meet with city officials, including vice mayor Tammy Kim and city council member Anthony Kuo, according to Moir.

“I think Haruka has a very clear vision in mind of what she wanted the mural to say and that she didn’t want to compromise that just to get an easier in,” Moir said. “We don’t want it to be something that is just saying a phrase that no one can disagree with. We wanted to address the issue that’s happening.”

Even though current social justice movements for African Americans, Asian Americans and other minority groups seemingly clash at times, the mural’s emphasis on unity drives home that these collective efforts are fundamentally intertwined, according to junior Chloé Cha.

“For the viewers in our audience for our mural, they should come to a conclusion that no matter how different we are — Asians, Black lives — we should all learn to respect each other and give people equity and inclusion, even though we are in a very diverse area,” Cha said.

Though she doesn’t directly identify with the East Asian community, Northwood High sophomore Ayushi Das followed a personal commitment to social justice in volunteering for the project.

“I think something that’s really important to me is always advocating for the right thing and always standing up for the right thing,” Das said. “So I feel like the message of the project is aligning with my identity in a sense and aligning with the values that I have of, ‘When you see something wrong, call it out to stand up for people.’”

“Paint for No Hate” is just one example of how youth can mobilize in creative ways to make a bold statement through vivid imagery. When the mural is installed, each painter will be assigned their own section of the mural to complete and contribute their own voice, according to Moir.

“I think art is such a powerful tool to communicate to the world, what we believe, what we feel, what we need and to process our own experiences,” Moir said. “And so I think, getting to see students use those passions together in a really unique way to communicate, it brings in the viewer even if they might not be interested in the cause in the first place.”

*Though Noda is the leader of the mural project, the Pilot included interviews from other project participants to avoid a conflict of interest, as Noda is also a member of the Pilot. A full list of the 28 project participants can be found here.