Dear Donald Trump,
Next time you jump on the Trump Jet to secure votes for the Republican primary, feel free to take a detour to Las Palmitas Mexico.
A group of artists and gang members dropped their guns and spent fourteen months turning the hillside neighborhood of Las Palmitas into a giant, colorful mural.
Working with residents, the muralists brought the working-class “barrio” together and changed its gritty image.
The Mural is an homage to the wind: the city of Pachuca “la bella airosa,” a Spanish phrase that loosely translates as “the beautiful breezy city.”
“I never thought we would have such a big impact,” said Enrique Gomez, a tattooed, and goateed former gang member who turned his life around when he rededicated himself to graffiti art and muralism.
Before the mural, Las Palmitas was a dangerous area where people avoided going out after dark. As the project nears its final stages, the mural, and the common sense of purpose has brought the community together and created something beautiful.
“What surprises me the most is that people are changing,” Gomez said. “They are growing, there is more community spirit. People are taking the security of their neighborhood into their own hands.”
The government-sponsored art collective tapped locals, some of them gang members, to cover the houses with more than 5,000 gallons (20,000 liters) of paint.
In its final stage, artists are painting more than 16,000 square feet (1,500 square meters) of murals along the narrow streets.
Reception of the “Pachuca Paints Itself” project has been so positive that plans are in the works to paint another poor neighborhood, the nearby Cubitos.
The mural is truly a thing of beauty. Even more beautiful is what the mural stands for.
Donald, I understand that you are trying to secure votes. You are appealing to the lowest common denominator and dumbing down a highly complex topic into something as simple as “building a wall” and categorizing illegal immigrants as “drug dealers and rapists”. You backtracked on those comments; it does not change the fact that you made the comments in the first place. Xenophobia and racial bias are the ugliest chapters in our brief history. It always starts with a charismatic “voice”. As of now, you are that voice. Spewing hatred, placing blame and feeding negativity never leads into anything positive. You are charismatic, and you have a platform to influence people.
Please use your influence more wisely.
In the meantime, take a moment to look at the mural, enjoy its beauty and most of all, reflect on its meaning and purpose.