Students Standing up Against Racial Injustice Through Art

By Marina Trotta and Lauren Hengehold

Seniors, Elsa Winter and Vivian Cormany, have both stood up against racial injustice by assembling fundraisers from selling authentic art work and donating their profits.
Cormany created stickers in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She claims, “I found myself really upset about the fact that I couldn’t do anything about the continued police brutality. I thought raising money for the NAACP would be the best course of action.”
Cormany initially made prints of George Floyd and gave those proceeds to the Black Lives Matter corporation. Though she realized some of those funds were being fed into Democratic campaigns. She explains that she decided to change the organization so that the donated money would go toward , “benefiting people of color, so I chose the NAACP Legal Defense Funds. They are responsible for pushing for a lot of reforms in policing.”
Cormany has worked to voice her opinion with other fundraisers throughout high school. Her sophomore year she made feminist inspired stickers after restrictive abortion law was trying to be passed. Those proceeds went to the ACLU.
She is excited about the outcomes saying, “It was cool to see that people actually wanted to engaged with the fundraiser cause I keep seeing stickers everywhere and raised a fair amount of money, so it was really encouraging”
Another senior who has put her art to good use is Elsa Winter. She wants to influence her peers in Sonoma and said, “In the midst of COVID uncertainties and the growing Black Lives Matter movement, I wanted to take action and encourage others to stand up against systemic racism.

I wanted to design shirts that empower people and enable people who could not attend protests for health reasons to participate in the movement. I also wanted to raise money and awareness for the Innocence Project, and this was my ultimate goal.”

— Elsa Winter

She goes further into detail about her project and the reason for the civil rights movement to be her focus saying that her inspiration, “was the emerging information that I continued to learn through the media. Seeing young people come together to educate themselves and stand up against inequality in the midst of the pandemic was completely pivotal for me.”
Winter chose to create a line of embroidered T-shirts in reference to and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. She sold and tie-dyed “over 60 shirts to people in the community and in different states.”
She explains that all of the proceeds will be donated to the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that works to free the wrongly-convicted and reform the criminal justice system.
Winter displays her commitment to the cause in her reasoning for her choice in organization. “I donated to them because I think that in order to genuinely address systemic racism, the institutions that drive it need to be held accountable, and I think that the Innocence Project’s intention of both preventing future injustices and fixing current ones is extremely important.”
After all of her dedication to the Black Lives Matter movement, Winter shares her message to the community on the subject, reiterating that “learning is the most important thing you can do! Work to educate yourself and find out ways you can help. Sign petitions, share important information, speak up, and most importantly vote if you can! The future of the country is in the hands of the younger generations and we should be creating a society that we want to reflect our values.”