Cal State Students Stand Up To Hate With Art And Design | News
SStudents in Professor Zachary Vernon’s graphic design course at California State University in Los Angeles are used to creating visual campaigns for fictitious clients.
But earlier this month, those clients were in the room, listening intently as the undergraduates presented their latest projects of the semester: PSA anti-hate campaigns that promote the inclusion and reporting of hate crimes for the LA campaign for everyone in the city of Los Angeles.
âWe launched LA for All to fight hate in our city and advocate for diversity, inclusion and belonging in LA,â said Capri Maddox, executive director of the city’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity department and alumnus of Cal State LA.
âGetting Cal State LA students involved in this work is a natural fit. These young people are the future of LA, and their vision of an inclusive and empowered Los Angeles is what we are fighting for at the LA Department of Civil Rights. We are very honored to have this partnership with Cal State LA.
Janet Dial, vice president for academic advancement and executive director of the Cal State LA Foundation, called the initiative “exciting.”
âSeeing our faculty and students offering their perspective and their artwork to advance this message is inspiring,” added Dial. “Capri Maddox is an extraordinary ambassador for both the city and our university. We are grateful for his leadership.
LA for All, launched in May by the Civil + Human Rights and Equity department, is an anti-hate campaign that runs in 18 languages ââand in more than 4,000 advertising spaces in Greater Los Angeles. Its bright colors and messages like âLA is for everyoneâ and âI Belong. You belong. We belong. âHave adorned buses, trains, parks, stadiums and more, making it the city government’s largest anti-hate PSA campaign.
This campaign is growing with the outlook of Cal State LA undergraduates, many of whom grew up nearby amid a five-year increase in reported hate crimes in Los Angeles, including a 20% jump last year. .
Students in Vernon’s Concept Development course were tasked with creating a compelling poster that communicates their personal take on one of the LA For All campaign’s main messages. Students have produced work ranging from illustration and photography to abstract art and typographic designs.
The works included street art, portraits of diverse families and communities, and bold statements of solidarity and inclusion in English and Spanish. One poster showed LA County as if it were all made up of flowers, surrounded by a sea of ââlayered colors. Another simply said âProtege Nuestro Hogarâ (Protect our house) in front of a bright sun.
âGood design speaks to us on a fundamentally human level,â said Vernon. âThere is nothing more human than bonding people. That was the goal of this project, and the students really took it to heart.
Cal State LA, ranked # 1 in the United States for upward mobility, is home to a diverse student body. The majority of its 27,000 students are not white, and many see the need for more messages that resist hate and division in Los Angeles.
âAs we see what’s going on around us, it’s important to look out for each other and stay together,â said student Valeria Olvera. âI wanted to create an image that captures the simplicity and beauty of caring for each other in our community. “
Her classmate Heo Kim said that having a sense of belonging or togetherness allows people to reflect on their oneness with their community or country.
âSince LA is a place where diverse races exist, I want to emphasize a strong sense of togetherness and tell people that LA can belong to anyone and anyone can belong to LA,â said Kim.