On July 11, 2015 OneUnited Bank hosted the unveiling of the mural, Thunder & Enlightening, painted by internationally acclaimed artist Addonis Parker. The OneUnited Mural Project has run in conjunction with an internship program sponsored by the Miami Childrenâ€™s Initiative and OneUnited Bank which included 21 inner city youth apprentice from 9 local high schools in Miami, FL working with Mr. Parker. The youth each madeÂ a mural rendering on a small piece of plywood to bring forth awareness and unity in the local community. However The Mural conveys a more controversial message of Freedom and Hope.
Thunder & EnlighteningÂ expounds on social and economic unrest â€“ using media icons like Trayvon Martin, Christina-Taylor Green, Mike Brown, local and national law enforcement and the 343 firefighter heroes from the aftermath of 9/11. The mural serves as a global bipartisan exchange to unite the world on a plateau of peace. It also acts as the artistic blueprint for the documentation of truth and a sincere approach for equal justice. This is a unique time in history to bear witness to such a monumental testament written from the pages of innocent blood. Thunder & Enlightening speaks to this truth because this awakening must be shared with the community to undertake a more perfect civilization. The time is now to see through eyes of painted voices!
After 4 months of suspense, this past Saturday, July 11, 2015 OneUnited Bank and the Miami Childrenâ€™s Initiative (MCI) unveiled â€œThunder & Enlightening,â€ a 550 square foot thought-provoking mural by Miami artist Addonis Parker. The massive public art project was erected on the faÃ§ade of the Miami branch of OneUnited Bank, the nationâ€™s largest black-owned bank. The unveiling concluded the OneUnited Mural Project â€“ an apprenticeship-based program using public art works, youth development and a community beautification program providing arts enrichment through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education. Before the unveiling, the inside of the bank served as an art gallery to display individual paintings from the 21 teen apprentices who assisted Parker.
Parker made his remarks about this experience and working with teens then dramatically cut off the black drape to revealing the mural. Guests were mesmerized and speechless. Parker then received a standing ovation for the depth of images revealed about the urban experience. The mural in its entirety touches on on racism, bigotry, protest, the confederate flag, the massacre in South Carolina, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown to name a few.
Before the unveiling, Teri Williams, President & COO of OneUnited Bank, expressed her gratitude to the sea of people and partners for supporting the idea of using the bank as a canvas to add art to Liberty City as she has personally witnessed the impact art can have on the community. â€œThe OneUnited Mural Project and the unveiling of the mural, Thunder & Enlightening, helps us bridge the divide between the banking industry and urban communities by recognizing their struggles and hopes for the future,â€ said Williams. â€œIt is important for us to speak in our authentic voices so that OneUnited Bank can better share financial literacy, attract the unbanked or under-banked customers and help develop the communities we serve.â€
During the program, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) Vice Chair Larry Feldman awarded Teri Williams; Addonis Parker, creator of Thunder & Enlightening; Cecelia Gutierrez, President & CEO of MCI; Carla Rowe, Mural Program Director; Hopi Morton, Center for Social Justice; and Suzan McDowell, President & CEO of Circle of One Marketing with medallions as a token of appreciation for the noble accomplishments in the community. Encouraging words about Liberty Cityâ€™s future, youth and education were spoken by District 5 Commissioner Keon Hardemon, MDCPS Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall and MDCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.