Adan Palermo, from Sunset Park, is in the 11th Grade at Fort Hamilton High School, Brooklyn. Two years ago Adan heard about Groundswell from a friend who was a program participant, and decided to join the TEMA after-school program.  “When I heard that I’d be working in group, together with other people to make a mural to help the community, I really wanted to do something to help out”.  In TEMA he worked with the team to produce a painting and mosaic for a downtown Brooklyn traffic barrier. During the summer he joined the Summer Leadership Institute and, working with Artists Joe Matunis and Crystal Clarity and a team of youth his age, created ‘Piece Out-Peace In’, a large scale anti gun violence mural in Crown Heights Brooklyn.  

“What I liked about the anti-gun violence project is that you don’t ordinarily see murals about this problem. I’d never heard of anybody wanting to do something about gun violence, because I thought no one really cared about it. When most people hear on the news that somebody got shot, their response is usually, “Oh, somebody died”. Just like that. It was really interesting because I think there is a way to help people out, and make them learn.  This project helped me out. I learned myself, because now I know how serious this problem is, and I understand how serious it is when I hear of people getting shot.”

Adan feels that projects like this can help make a difference in the community. “The mural team changed a lot just by learning and hearing other people’s stories.  We put ourselves in the position of those who has lost family members, and were able to try and feel the way they felt. I think that the mural can make anyone who sees it really think, and maybe feel the same way.”

Adan also feels that working with Groundswell has helped him personally. “Working on murals has taught me about different community groups and what they’re trying to say; what they’re trying to do for the community. You’re giving people voices and a chance to speak out. I’ve also learned how to develop my creativity, to just bring in all my ideas, and what I’m thinking. Working with Groundswell has made me more confident, and has made me feel that I can help the community too. We all have a voice, and being able to use it for reaching out to others is something that I think is really worth speaking of. “