Everyone deserves justice and peace!” This was the sentiment of youth from the Learning Club Leadership Academy, a neighborhood teen youth program serving inner-city youth surrounding Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Kansas City, Kansas. The group’s members participated in the American Friends Service Committee’s Reflections on Afghanistan Mural project, which is teaching area youth about the Afghan people, the Afghan war and the impact the war has had on people there, on U.S. soldiers and on the United States. After learning about Afghanistan the youth create murals which reflect their feelings and thoughts about the war.

A selection of the murals produced by local youth will be added to the traveling exhibit, Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan (http://afsc.org/project/windows-and-mirrors) when it is in Kansas City from November 12 through December 30, 2011. The traveling exhibit will be on display at the in Central KCMO Public Library and the Johnson County Central Resource Library. The murals produced locally will be displayed with other student works at the Johnson County Central Resource Library.

After learning about Afghanistan the Learning Club teens identified themes they wanted to communicate in their murals. They wanted to recognize the violence experienced by both Afghans and U.S. citizens; the extreme poverty and hardships suffered by the people of Afghanistan. They wanted people to recognize our equality and that we have lots in common-- the importance of family, hopes for the future, desires for peace, health, jobs…

Jose Faus, Kansas City area artist and poet, volunteered his skills to facilitate the creative process with the Learning Club youth. He introduced methods of communicating emotions and meaning not only with images but also with color, shape and rhythm. The results were extraordinary.

School and youth groups interested in participating in the project can contact AFSC at 816 931-5256 or afsckc@afsc.org.

We wish to thank Utrecht Art Supplies for their contribution of and discount on paints and other materials in support of this project.

Click this link to see photos of Learning Club Leadership Academy working on murals.