Author, community activist and founding president of BK Nation, Kevin Powell, the Children’s Aid Society and New York youth have unveiled a mural honoring Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens. The students were eager to provide a spark of empowerment within the community, particularly in light of events that have been negatively affecting the African-American community. The creation of the mural also gave the youth a chance to leave their mark on the community in an artistic way.

Powell provided encouraging words to the students and explained what the project meant to him and to the community. “The unveiling of the Jesse Owens mural was an absolutely incredible gathering of young people, adults and community members in love with our children, our history and our future,” said Powell. “To celebrate Jesse Owens is to celebrate the best of who we are. He is a Black hero, he is an American hero and he is a world hero.”

The ideation and painting of the mural was led by artist Lance “ESTOS” Bradley, who contributes to large-scale murals and teaches art classes. The name ESTOS is an acronym for “Educated Strictly Through Our Streets.” His work has been displayed in art galleries in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas and Athens.

The mural was painted on the side of the Children’s Aid Society Dunlevy Milbank Center, positioned in a manner that the youth, families and community can easily appreciate its meaning. It reflects Owens’ motivational message, “In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” His sensational achievement of winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany, has guaranteed his permanent place in world history. His triumph over racial segregation affirmed that excellence distinguishes an individual and serves as a daily reminder of what can happen when one does not let their circumstances define their future.

“Children’s Aid Society would like to thank our youth and community for helping us create this mural project and for supporting our efforts to empower the community,” said Casper Lassiter, director of the Dunlevy Milbank Center. “This project engaged the youth, who are the future of our community, and it will continue to inspire the community with its important message and beautiful artwork.”

The completed mural was unveiled, Tuesday, June 16 at 6 p.m. at the Children’s Aid Society, 14-32 W. 118th St. (between Malcolm X Boulevard and Fifth Avenue). The Brooklyn chapter of Black Men Run was in attendance at the unveiling. Representatives from the Harlem Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity attended in honor of their fraternal brothers, Owens and Powell. For more information, please visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.