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Nov 03 2016
by Kirami Bah

This Student's Drawing Was Taken Down Because It Was 'Offensive'

By Kirami Bah - Nov 03 2016

This artwork done by Janell Rowe, a senior in high school, is a tribute to the victims of violence and police brutality, and a statement against the silencing of black voice.

It is a powerful piece, with the names of those wrongfully killed entwined in the girl’s hair. The American flag covers the girl’s mouth as tears fall from her eyes.

“America is trying to silence black people, and the people that died,” said Rowe.

Rowe told Fresh U her decision behind making this piece:

“I've been drawing and been interested in art since I was about 10. [And] when I first saw the image online, it touched me so I wanted to recreate it so everyone can know the names of the people who died unjustly or in police related situations.”

There is nothing insulting about this piece. There are no slurs or derogatory images depicted in the drawing. But according to Rowe, those on the board of the education believed otherwise:

“When I was first told that they took it down I was shocked and mad of course. But I wanted something done about it. So I tried to talk to my principal about it and he told me that it was mainly the three police officers on the board of education that found it offensive. And yes, they were white.”

When asked if the school would allow her to put the picture back up, Rowe said:

“The school hasn't said anything about putting it back up nor will they.”

As Rowe showed in her drawing, black voices in the United States are trying to be silenced. But our voices are powerful, and no one will force us to keep quiet.

Lead Image Credit: Janell Rowe via Twitter

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Kirami Bah - University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Kirami Bah is a freshman at UNC-Greensboro majoring in Communication Studies. She has an affinity for quotes and loves trying new things. Follow her on Twitter @kirxmi.

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