Mural teaches youth about air pollution

This past Friday, Aug. 7, Sierra Club and the Peoples Collective for Environmental Justice, led an environmental justice teaching session at Project Fighting Chance (PFC) boxing gym in San Bernardino. Along with the teaching session, they unveiled their new mural to local youth. They allowed the kids to take part in helping paint their new mural “Fight Smog” at PFC.

The mural was created by A’Kailah Byrd-Greene, Andres Garcia, and Duan Kellum.

The teaching session was from 4 to 5 p.m., the goal of the session was to educate the youth group about air pollution.

“This teaching session and mural is to educate the youth about pollution and advocate for cleaner air,” shared Yassi Kavezade, Lead Organizer with the Sierra Club My Generation Campaign.

When teaching children about pollution and climate change, Yassi and her team made sure everyone was involved and any questions answered. What they wanted to do with the group was to get them thinking about the dangers of emissions, while explaining how their voices matter and how they can make change.

“We believe we need to raise awareness and give a voice to the youth,” shared Yassi.

Project Fighting Chance and Sierra Club believe this partnership can help usher in an era of youth that can help preserve the environment.

“What I love about teaching the underserved youth about pollution is this shows them the issues going on around them,” explained Terry Boykins, Executive Director of Project Fighting Chance.

With its new mural PFC also has a tranquility garden to help teach the children the importance of clean air and taking action.

“A lot of people aren’t teaching inner city youth about the dangers of pollution. This teaching right here, gives them that knowledge and tells them, ‘your voice matters,’” said Boykins.

PFC, Sierra Club, and People’s Collective for Environmental Justice hope this is the first step of a great partnership. The mural, located on the backside of the gym, is used as a reminder of what these organizations are fighting for.

“This mural is a celebration, it sheds light on where we’re at with pollution, with an eye towards making change,” explained Duan Kellum, one of three artists that created the mural.

The idea for the mural was to help elevate public education on air quality, as well as a reminder of what they can do to help.

“We want to use this mural as a reminder to these children, what we’re working towards,” said Yassi. When the teaching session ended, the children couldn’t wait to help paint their new beautiful mural; they lit up when they finally saw it. The mural will be unveiled in its finished form this Wednesday, August 11, 4 p.m. at PFC.


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