Artist Turns Grieving Mothers’ Pain Into Paintings In Little Haiti

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LITTLE HAITI (CBSMiami) — On a stage at the Yeelen Gallery in Little Haiti, a group of women known as “The Circle of Mothers” sit in a row, with painted portraits of themselves behind them.

They share the tragic bond of having a child who was killed. They’re the focus of artwork by Sylvia Maier called, “The Currency Series.” It shows each woman painted on a coin.

Today, they’re moms with a message.

“Through education and art you can educate people and change the world,” said Kadiatou Diallo. “This is why we are here today.”

Diallo’s son was killed by police in 1999. She’s taking part in a University of Phoenix documentary that’s being shot at the Yeelen Gallery in Little Haiti during Art Basel.

The focus is how education from Kindergarten thru 12th grade can make a difference.

“The K-12 system is not up to the standard it should be and it’s having exponential issues in the black community,” said Byron Jones from the University of Phoenix.

Rev. Al Sharpton is part of the panel looking into how education can make a difference in the fight for civil rights. “We want to build a society with equal opportunity and equal protection under the law,” said Rev. Sharpton. “But must ingrain that in young people at a very early age for them to understand that we may be different colors, different religions, but we’re the same and government should protect that equality.”

Tracy Martin is Trayvon Martin’s father. Trayvon, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. He hopes forums like this and the “Saving Tomorrow Today” documentary can keep the conversation going to make significant change.

“We need to unite as one,” said Martin. “All lives matter, no matter, black, white, whatever. All lives matter and we all are of equal value.”

The documentary airs on March 3rd at 5:30 pm on the TV One Network.

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