We are very happy to announce the winners of the Project MI “Building Our Communities” Art Contest.   High School students were asked how they would build our communities and stop the school-to-prison pipeline.   In response we received fantastic work!

First, second, and third place winners will receive a “Back to School” Scholarship at our July 2018 Youth Leadership & Activism Summit, “My City, My Voice.”

First Place

Artist: Christopher Morris

Artwork Title: “Success”

Artwork Narrative: “I have made huge changes in my life. I came from gangs and doing plenty of things I know I shouldn’t have done. I grew up with no guidance or mentors so my previous life decisions weren’t good and could have eventually sent me to prison. Then came football, it changed me and made me realize I wanted to do something better with my life. I currently have several football college scholarship offers that motivate me to keep going and do the best I can. Football is giving me many opportunities to pursue what I want to do in life, and navigating me above the negative choices, upwards in the right direction.”

1st Place

Second Place

Artist: Renard Gwynn

Artwork Title: “Stop the Bullet”

Artwork Narrative: “The bullet in my drawing represents failure, gang association, homelessness, and prison. The brick wall, which represents organizations and people who care about our future, protects the bullet from destroying young black men like myself. Bricks of brotherhood and positive mentors help young black men break the pipe line to prison. The other side represents a man with his head tattooed with success because he is able to remain separated from the negative surroundings.”

2nd Place

Third Place

Artist: Terry Carter

Artwork Title: “Story of a Young Black Boy”

Artwork Narrative: “This is a story about a young black boy in our city of Memphis. This boy wants a chance, most boys don’t get a chance in our city and most don’t make it to 19 years old. Sometimes there is a choice; prison or fame.”

3rd Place

Honorable Mention

Artist: Jadveon Perkins

Artwork Title: “P.U.R.E.”

Artwork Narrative: “P.U.R.E. stands for Progressing Under Restraints and Extremes, an organization that focuses on education, football, and character for the youth of Memphis. P.U.R.E. is used in my artwork as a representation of the fence that surrounds me made of brothers, coaches, teachers, and family. Within my fence I am able to create new books containing positive chapters in my life. If we had other organizations like P.U.R.E. I believe it will keep young people out of prison.”

Honorable Mention

Artist: Jordan Armour

Artwork Title: “Do the Right Thing”

Artwork Narrative: “The idea I chose to draw centered around family. The reason why I drew this idea is because to me, family influences kids from going to jail by teaching them what is right and what is wrong. For example, your mother/ father always tells you not to steal anything from the store. The theme of this competition ties in with my artwork by showing people that if you can trust your parents and try to think or understand that they were trying to prevent you from doing something bad, then you or any other kid wouldn’t have to end up in jail in the first place. In this picture, this girl realized that her parents/family was trying to help her this whole time and now she understands what her family has been trying to do for her all this time, even if they were mean to her.”

Honorable Mention 2

Congratulations to each of our winners!

Written by demefrank

mother, womanist, law prof, prison abolitionist. Demetria does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from the viewpoints expressed in this article or post.


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