NYC park benches to display social action murals painted by students

NEW YORK (WABC) -- This summer, park benches across New York City will display social action murals painted by students.

Nearly three dozen of the artworks, part of the Youth Setting the Standard for Social Change exhibition, were unveiled at Washington Square Park Thursday.

"What I think is more important is gun violence, what happened in Texas the other day, lots of people died that day," student David Sanchez said.

The 35 murals were conceptualized and created by more than 1,200 students.

The exhibit was organized by the Center for Educational Innovation as part of its Benchmarks program which empowers children to have a voice and display those ideas in a public setting.

"The students started with our teaching artists in the schools at the end of January and have worked in a program to really examine social activism," Executive Director Alexandra Leff said.

In one mural, students painted a Black woman afraid to leave her home because of the color of her skin.

"I've been in a situation where I was being followed in a supermarket by a white security guard," student Leah Fontus said. It hurtbecause you don't trust me because I'm Black."

In their short lives, many have already felt the ugly sting of hate.

"As an African and being dark-skinned I get told a lot of racist comments," student Maimouna Diop said.

The benches willbe installed in parks all over the city through September 15.

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