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Norcom High School students paint mural advocating against gun violence

I.C. Norcom students' mural, "It's About Saving Lives," advocates against gun violence and will be shared across the state and country.
Photo courtesy of Portsmouth Public Schools
I.C. Norcom students' mural, "It's About Saving Lives," advocates against gun violence and will be shared across the state and country.

Six I.C Norcom students painted a mural with the Virginia Center for Public Safety that will be used as an example for future state and national campaigns.

To highlight the impact of gun violence in the community, six students from I.C Norcom High School painted a mural in collaboration with the Virginia Center for Public Safety.

“The point of the mural is to show that gun violence is real and lives are being taken, young lives at that, and it needs to be stopped,” said Alexandria Williams, an upcoming senior at Norcom.

The mural, called "It's About Saving Lives," contains images that advocate against gun violence and depicts different aspects each artist chose to represent their community's and school's way of fighting for change.

“I put the (orange) figure there to signify a space for the students, to put the students in their shoes, so when they do take a photo with it, it puts them in the position,” said Jaylen Cooper, a graduating senior.

The students and faculty involved with the mural wanted to depict the toll gun violence has had on their community, but at the focal point and heart of their message was about life.

“It’s a deep, deep issue. It’s a gun issue, but more importantly it’s about life, having life, and being a part of youngsters' lives,” said Julius Hayes, a school volunteer who organizes the Saturday Academy Positive Self-Development at the Living Word Victory Center.

The mural contains vivid imagery that demonstrates different aspects of gun violence. Each image conveys different emotions, from the candles representing the solemn toll of lives lost and families shattered by gun violence, to the depiction of diverse hands raised together encapsulating hope and action.

“People that are losing these lives, their life has changed for the worst,” Williams said.

The mural at I.C. Norcom is the first of its kind in Virginia and will be used in state and national campaigns to raise awareness of gun violence through more school murals.

“It feels great, it’s something you can feel really proud of, that you left something here for your school,” said Kameron Cutler, an upcoming senior.

Portsmouth Public Schools is a member of the Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association, which holds WHRO's broadcast license.

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