With businesses along K Street in downtown Sacramento boarding up their windows and doors — either to cover up glass that was smashed in the chaotic early days of protest against police brutality or to prevent future destruction — the staff at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament boarded up its lower level entrance on K Street and the adjacent building at 1119 K Street, headquarters of the California Catholic Conference.
Valerie Ramos, a member of Good Shepherd Parish in Elk Grove, and Cathedral parishioner Mirella Aguirre, used their artistic inspiration, gifts and skills to turn those sheets of plywood into impromptu canvases to spread a message of faith, peace and racial justice.
“My feelings about being involved this mural run deep,” says Valerie, a retired educator from the Sacramento Unified School District and also was director of religious education at St. John Vianney Parish in Rancho Cordova for several years.
“My husband, Carlos helped me unload all my paints and what I needed on K Street. I asked him to pray over me as I started painting. I wanted my work to be offered to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit to be my artist, be my hand, and guide my mind and my heart. I was crying as I was painting, just feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. I thought this is an important mural to create, for people to see God’s word and to see the faces of Black Catholics, to know we have Black saints in the church. And that we are all praying in solidarity with our peaceful protestors and all people of good will to achieve justice and peace in our country.”
The colorful mural across the windows at 1119 K Street depicts Black saints, Augustus Tolton, Josephine Bakhita, Martin de Porres and Charles Lwanga, as well as Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Thea Bowman, whose cause for canonization was opened in 2018. Ramos says the background is four panels of color, modeled after the colorful Kente cloth, the national cloth of Ghana. Flanking each end of the mural are two women who represent modern day African American women, one with long braided hair and “no justice, no peace” on her shirt, and one with natural African hair, with “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) on her shirt….
The above comes from a June 16 release from the Sacramento diocese.