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The Inspiration Behind La Morena's Latest Street Mural

La Morena's latest mural on Bloom's Flower and Gift Shop in south Phoenix.EXPAND
La Morena's latest mural on Bloom's Flower and Gift Shop in south Phoenix.
Melina Zuniga
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Lucinda Hinojos wants to make one message clear with her latest street mural on the East wall of Bloom's Flower & Gift Shop in south Phoenix: the community stands in solidarity with Dreamers.

Hinojos, a Phoenix-based muralist, is using her art as a political voice to call attention to the uncertainty around  the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, otherwise known as DACA, which President Trump ended by executive order last September, with a six-month delay.

Hinojos says there was a need to do this mural in Arizona because of its strong conservative political base, and the lack of representation on the subject throughout the artistic community.

"Not everyone wants to turn on the news and see the negative politics of what's happening," Hinojo says. "This is another form of bringing awareness and hope and inspiration with art."

Hinojos, also known as "La Morena," first started painting murals in 2012, and since then has done murals across Arizona, and out of state in collaboration with other Phoenix artists such as Mata Ruda and Jeff Slim.

Hinojos describes the mural as a fight for critical social justice issues that need awareness. For this particular piece, Hinojos collaborated with a local art teacher, Venessa Chavez, and five female students from Maxine O. Bush Elementary School to create "Unlocking Your Potential and Freedom."

"We want to teach the youth about culture and social justice, and that art could be their voice," Hinojos says.

The mural depicts a young Hispanic female field-worker who comes across a cage, and releases the butterflies and doves trapped inside, while working in the middle of a corn field. The five students that are collaborating with Hinojos each dedicated a butterfly to the mural, symbolizing the Dreamers' freedom, and doves to represent peace.

"We have to let these Dreamers know that everyone is fighting for their rights, we have your back, we are here for you, and we are going to keep fighting," Hinojo says.

Since Trump decided to end DACA in September, the U.S. Senate has been unsuccessful in approving a bi-partisan solution that provides border-wall funding, and a legal path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers. On March 5, nearly 1,000 DACA permits began to expire daily, leaving those Dreamers without jobs, and facing the risk of deportation.

With over 28,000 Dreamers in Arizona alone, Hinojos says this mural and its message are timeless.

"It's not about me, it's about the community. I'm doing this for the community," Hinojos says. "We are going to keep fighting because these are our neighbors, our friends, our family members."

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