Groundswell Community Mural Project ©

Acrylic on Wall
30 x 70 Ft

Lead Artist: Christopher Cardinale
Assistant Artist: Nicole Schulman
Youth Artists: Javonne Cardwell, Marian Chen, Terrell Cooper, Takeria Cummings, Kevin Jones, Isis McBurnie, Jarei McKeiver, Michael Pang, Epigmenio Sosa, Mujahid Thompson and Laquon Wheeler

Location: Butler Street and 3rd Ave, Downtown Brooklyn.
Community Partner: Transportation Alternatives


As one of six projects in Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), youth created a large-scale mural and developed imagery for a community organizing campaign to reclaim neighborhood streets from sustained traffic-related deaths in downtown Brooklyn. The mural depicts three children who were killed by cars on 3rd Avenue.

For over a decade, Transportation Alternatives (TA) and neighborhood activists lobbied for improved safety measures along this corridor.  Despite previous pledges from the Department of Transportation (DOT), changes were not implemented.  Over the past three years, three children have been struck and killed while legally crossing Third Avenue. TA and Groundswell initiated three efforts in response: a mural, a safety pledge/sticker campaign, and original traffic signs.  The team worked with Brooke Dubose of TA and members of the victims’ families.

The mural, “Not One More Death,” memorializes Juan Angel Estrada, (1992-2004), Victor Flores, (1993-2004), and James Rice, (2003-2007).  They are depicted holding original traffic safety signs designed by the youth artists.  A silhouette of an anonymous figure is also present, holding a sign reading “Not One More Death.”

Participants also developed a safety pledge for cars, cyclists and pedestrians. It states, “I pledge to drive/ride/walk as safely and respectfully in other people’s neighborhoods as I would like them to drive/ride/walk in mine.”  Youth artists collected signatures, engaged downtown residents in discussion, and gave out stickers and safety guidelines.  The sticker reads “Respect” and was designed by the youth artists.

These initiatives led to a watershed dedication ceremony on August 28th.  Artists, activists, politicians, victims’ relatives, and a DOT representative all took to a podium under the mural to proclaim “Not One More Death.” Around the site, TA volunteers created improvised neckdowns (narrowed intersections), outlines of extended sidewalks, and other traffic calming techniques to demonstrate their effectiveness. VR (Visual Resistance) volunteers began attaching their signs to existing posts throughout downtown Brooklyn.


DOT Senior Policy Advisor Jon Orcutt commended the mural and announced that construction on traffic calming measures had begun on the 4th Avenue corridor and would be begin the following year along 3rd Avenue.  He indicated that community response was directly involved in making the changes happen.
This collaboration is a major accomplishment for TA and neighborhood activists, and reinforces the power of art as a tool for social change.