The “Know Your Rights” mural outside Ravenswood Houses, 21-10 35 Ave. Astoria, was unveiled Sunday, with a mission to educate community members about their rights if they feel they are being stopped by police unjustifiably.
The event was hosted by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who offered his support with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) to the advocacy group Make the Road New York. The organization worked with high school students from its Youth Power Project in Jackson Heights to combat discrimination by painting the half-a-block mural with unique messages, under the guidance of commissioned Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez. The mural was completed in three and a half weeks by up to 20 teens who worked on it each day.
“We chose this location, which was relevant to the issue — to use this as a piece of knowledge,” Jose Lopez said, from MRNY.
“There’s a respect from the art community for projects like this,” Lopez added.
De Blasio has called upon the mayor to use Compstat data collect about stop-and-frisks, to hold precinct commanders accountable for bad stops. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, in 2011 87 percent of New Yorkers stopped were black or Latino; less than 1 percent were found with weapons and drugs, which is appoximately 7,000 people.
“Unwarranted stop-and-frisks are poisoning the relationship between communities and police. The path we are on is making the city less safe and it’s time to change,” de Blasio said.
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