On Tucker Street, next to the community garden and on the side of the Isles’ building, sits a mural with a peace sign, trees growing around it, and two hands coming together. Wrapping them are the words “Each One Teach One,” and at the bottom in bold letters saying to the onlooker, “Increase the Peace, it starts with you.”
“With the way that everything’s going on in the city, it is very important to try to inspire people,” said Trenton artist Leon Rainbow. He explained that one of the parts that stands out is the words saying, it starts with you. “You know, a lot of people don’t necessarily think about how much power they have. Still, if everybody agrees, or everybody was nonviolent or try to work non violently, then the city would be a lot better place.”
This mural ceremony kicked off the Increase the Peace summer mural season. Stacy Heading, leader of Increase the Peace, explained that each mural would be different and have another message for residents to read.
“This one says, ‘Increase the Peace, It starts with you’. The next one we’ll do is ‘Increase the Peace…It starts with love.’ Then the third one is going to be ‘Increased the Peace in Our Streets,'” Heading said.
This mural was designed by Leon Rainbow and worked on by Isles youth. Rainbow guides the kids through different techniques for painting mural on the wall.
“We want to use the same platform, the same techniques as Leon. The kids design the Mural with Leon, and then he teaches them the techniques of putting it together,” Heading said.
This is a part of a program run by Anthony Richards. He is the Evening Reporting Center (ERC) Coordinator at Isles and hosts an after-school program for kids waiting to go to court.
“I pick them up after school Monday through Friday. I feed them every day. I provide them with life skills. I provide them with job training, tutoring if need be… We also do community service,” Richards said.
He was with his team of students as they designed and helped paint the mural. Richards even coined the phrase written, Each One, Teach One. “I dropped the album called Each One Teach One in October. The meaning of each one teaches one is: we can learn from each other anybody, from any walk of life, it doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter where you are from,” Richards said.
During Thursday’s ceremony, all those who participated put their hand print on the mural. From the supervisors to the sponsors to the artists, they all dipped their palms in purple ink and placed their hands across the white spots.
“I guess the handprint is just like, something that we thought about. I had put handprints into the design. And then we thought about like, okay, instead of us just painting them, or just doing them. We wanted the people that participated to get their hands involved as a sign of unity,” Rainbow said. “We’re putting our handprint on this. We’re a part of this; we believe in this.”
This Mural is the work of Isles, Stacy Heading, his Peace in the Streets Initiative, artists Dean Innocenzi and Leon Rainbow, The Trenton Thunder Organization, TASK, Passage Theatre, Mayor Reed Gusciora and the City of Trenton, Capital Health and the Victory Program, Trenton Community Street Team, and Evening Reporting Center (ERC) IYI Afterschool Program. The hope is that this mural, along with the others, gives hope and inspires Trenton residents that they can make a difference in their world.
“It’s a reminder for all of us, right everyone interested in progress and interested in uplifting our city, that we’re not alone,” John Hart, Chief Operating Officer of Isles. “I mean, how powerful is that students and artists came together and have the same feelings that we have. There’s hope. Right? And they’re moving toward that hope.”