City leaders, community organizations and activists use art to engage in critical conversations about race and representation

City of San Jose logoOn Oct. 29, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Vice Mayor Chappie Jones, Director of Cultural Affairs, Kerry Adams Hapner, the banner’s designer, Cherise Orange, Founder of community activist organization YouthHype, LaToya Fernandez and member of YouthHype, Lyric Bryant, celebrated the unveiling of Black Lives Matter banners at San Jose City Hall. The commemoration was followed by a virtual celebration organized by YouthHype.

“We were happy to work with the community to find a prominent way to celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement, and to acknowledge the important work ahead for all of us.” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Thanks to community leader LaToya Fernandez and the members of YouthHype for their leadership and advocacy, and to artist Cherise Orange for lending her creative talent to help us shape a new narrative for San Jose—one that embraces our diversity, and that appropriately reckons with a history of racial injustice.”

Recently, San Jose city council adopted a Black Lives Matter resolution and Equity Pledge, and engaged with local YouthHype, an organization empowering youth from disenfranchised and marginalized communities, to explore how to visually reflect these civic declarations in public spaces at City Hall. City Hall has long been a symbol and place for gathering in demonstrations of free speech–these banners raised in such a symbolic area is a way to incorporate today’s most pressing conversations about racial equality at the home of San Jose’s government.

The Black Lives Matter banners were designed by local entrepreneur, Cherise Orange, the CEO and Brand Artist for You Just Got Oranged. With a background in urban planning and brand development, she brings a unique perspective to her strategies that includes the public and private sectors. The banners designed to go up at city hall prominently feature the phrases “Voices. Dreams. Futures.” and display the colors of  the Pan African Flag, which has long stood as a symbol of pride, liberty, and celebration for Black Americans. Read more about the meaning behind Cherise’s design.

The city will continue to work with the community to engage in critical conversations about race and equity through a visual art banner program in the City Hall Plaza and its adjacent area in coordination with OCA, the newly founded Office of Racial Equity and other departments. These Black Lives Matters banners, along with future artwork displayed at City Hall will continue to celebrate the diversity of all San Joseans.

To read more about the City’s effort, please click here.

To join virtual celebration AFTER the press conference, click here.