I was honored to be invited to participate in Amnesty International’s Art for Rights mural and letter writing campaign that took place in New Orleans, December, 2015. Local and international artists were invited to paint murals representing 12 cases of wrongful imprisonment that Amnesty is currently addressing. These international and domestic cases are all both stunningly unjust and representative of larger trends of human rights abuses. The mural I painted was about a woman named Teodora del Carmen Vasquez. While at work in 2008, Teodora suffered the immense tragedy of a stillborn baby in her 9th month of pregnancy. She was accused of “aggravated homicide” and sentenced to 30 years of prison. It is an unspeakable injustice on top of a devastating loss and my great hope is that the letters generated from this event and from this mural, sent to the El Salvadoran government, will aid in her release. Please click here to learn more about her case and get involved.
I was so grateful to paint alongside many amazing artists from around the world, each one painting another story of another abuse almost too painful to believe. Thousands of people came to the letter writing event to show their solidarity. Since the event, the hundreds of thousands of letters generated have aided in the release of at least one of the prisoners. I am hopeful that Teodora will soon be released so that she can reunite with her son and continue the long, difficult process of facing her grief from the loss of her baby.