(April 20, 2021, JNS Wire)
(Miami, FL) — A massive graffiti art mural has appeared in the edgy Wynwood Walks neighborhood of Miami stating “WE LOVE THE HEAT. UNITED AGAINST ANTISEMITISM, RACISM & ALL HATE.”
On Sunday, April 18th in front of the mural, South Florida teens from Miami to Jupiter kicked off #DunkOnHate, a social media call-out campaign where each participant uploads video of themselves slamming down a basketball with a statement of why they are ‘dunking on’ hate. They then call on friends, family or celebrities to do the same. The event and mural are co-sponsored by Artists 4 Israel (A4I) and StandWithUs (SWU).
“The expression to ‘dunk on’ someone means to add insult to injury. It isn’t just scoring on the other player, it is showing them up,” explains Craig Dershowitz, CEO of Artists 4 Israel. “We are proud to join our co-sponsor StandWithUs in forcefully, aggressively, demonstratively dunking on antisemitism and all forms of hate. We intend to keep scoring points against hate until we defeat it.”
Students from middle and high schools rammed basketballs down with gusto and made strong statements.
Passerby’s stopped to take photos and, impromptu, joined in the action, getting their shots in while also expressing their reasons for dunking on hate. They received StandWithUs brochures and swag from a booth created by 13-year-old Hadar Setton. Hadar made the non-profit organization her Bat Mitzvah project and arranged for StandWithUs to be a co-sponsor of the Miami Heat’s Jewish Heritage Night.
Participants received one-of-a-kind basketballs painted with unique graffiti artwork including #DunkOnHate, a collaboration between REDS, 1Der and Joey Beans from Artists 4 Israel, including a certificate of authenticity.
“It was an extraordinary and uplifting event. We are so proud of these teen leaders who are speaking out against antisemitism and racism, and thrilled that Best Buddies participated,” stated Sara Gold Rafel, executive director of StandWithUs/Southeast. “Antisemitism is part of the Jewish story, but all forms of hate affect so many groups. It is a universal struggle. The teens in SWU’s Kenneth Leventhal High School Internship and Teen Leadership Council are rallying people of all backgrounds in Miami and beyond. Together we will #DunkOnHate until it has nowhere left to hide.”
Famed graffiti artist Joey Beans, who is well aware of antisemitism, having helped A4I by covering over swastikas in and around South Boston, summed up the experience by saying, “When I look at the mural, I see oneness and unity. There are some terrible people out there, but there are far more organizations like StandWithUs, its high school interns and the thousands in Artists 4 Israel international network of artists who are prepared to run the court on the haters.”
QUOTES from Student Dunker’s On Hate
Ariana Hoblin, StandWithUs 2020-21 Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern and senior at Wellington Community High School:
“I dunked on antisemitism because no one should feel uncomfortable or unsafe about who they are and it should be a safe place for Jews around the world and I hope that this is a big step towards change for the Jewish community.”
Agustin Zelikson, StandWithUs 2020-21 Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern, Agustin Zelikson and senior at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School:
“I dunked on hate for everyone that has been hurt because of antisemitism or any other kind of racism. Countless people have been hurt in the past because of this and now is not the time to stay quiet. It is the time to act, and that is why I attended this event: to create a better future, remembering the past, and dunking for all of those who could not do it themselves.”
Valentina Baredes, StandWithUs 2021-22 Kenneth Leventhal High School Intern and junior at Mast@FIU:
“I chose to speak about antisemitism and hate, but not just about those topics. Most important is that the Jewish community – or any other community that is being discriminated against – stays together. Standing together portrays strength. Unity gives us a sense of community, and demonstrates to the world that anything can be defeated, including discrimination, antisemitism, and all kinds of hate. This kind of movement is a crucial demonstration of unity, and just like the name of the organization, it attracts the world to ‘StandWithUs.'”
Noam Rothman, graduate of Palm Beach Gardens Community High School:
“I dunked on those who bully others because of their ethnicity. I believe that the place anyone originates from is valid and you should be able to celebrate it without being put down.”
Cassandra Corinella, senior at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School:
“My name is Cassey and I am Dunking On Hate for anyone who has experienced sexism.”
Miami resident artists REDS and 1Der painted the giant 28′ x 20’ foot urban art mural. It will be visible throughout April to anyone driving in or out of Miami via I-95 (in the back of 594 NW 26th street 33127.) Neither artist is Jewish; REDS is Latinx and 1Der is Black. REDS is a staunch supporter of Israel and the Jewish people and frequently recruits other artists as advocates after returning from a mission to Israel with Artists 4 Israel to paint buildings damaged by war and terrorism.
All are welcome to join the movement by tagging #DunkOnHate to a video sinking a basketball, making a statement against hate, and calling out someone else to do the same.
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