Healing Walls: A Battered Community Turns to Art

"The Healing Walls" memorial for victims of crime.

"The Healing Walls" memorial for victims of crime. Mural Arts Program hide caption

itoggle caption Mural Arts Program
"The Healing Walls" prisoners' mural.

"The Healing Walls" prisoners' mural. Mural Arts Program hide caption

itoggle caption Mural Arts Program

The inner city of Philadelphia has long struggled with crime. In 2003 alone, 34 murders, 91 rapes and 640 robberies were registered in north Philly's Badlands community. Today, two new murals loom over the neighborhood. One is a memorial to the victims and survivors of crime. The other is a testament from the offenders, many now incarcerated for life. Together, these "Healing Walls," a project of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program, tell the story of these streets and the families who inhabit them.

Victoria Green, a Badlands resident and a counselor in the prison system, is the mother of four: three law enforcement officers and a murdered drug dealer. The central figure in the victims' mural, Green is shown leading grieving children through a graveyard.

"Within these neighborhoods are people who worked hard, who want the American dream, who have religious values, know right from wrong," Green tells Marion Winik. "This is a symbol for them to stand up and have a voice and have a picture."

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