Chalking the Streets of DC

When most people think of the word ‘graffiti’ it usually comes with negative connotations. However, its ability to catch the eyes of those passing by can also serve to raise awareness about important issues, such as Burma.

On Jan 27, students at George Washington University chalked on the sidewalks of their DC campus to raise awareness about the human rights violations in Burma. Their inspiration came from students and youth activists in Burma who had chalked and sprayed graffiti on roads and buildings in Mon and Shan states in early January, using art as an outlet to express their despair and growing frustrations over the current situation.

Many are opposed to the upcoming election in 2010, the first in 19 years (in 1991 Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy Party won an overwhelming victory but has since been blocked from taking power by the junta). There are constitutional and political obstacles placed by the military junta that will surely prevent a free and fair election from taking place.

Those, who came to this chalking event, spoke of how important it was for them to support the democracy and human rights movement in Burma. While this event will not change the minds of those in power, it will show the Burmese people that they have support from around the world.

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