EDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Art and activism meet on the sidewalks of Edgewater, N.J.

Feeling their community lacks awareness or discussion around racial inequality, a group of youngsters are using “chalktivism” to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Messages of support for protesters and the Black Lives Matter movement written in chalk on June 23, 2020. (credit: Vanessa Murdock/CBS2)

The faces and names of black lives ended too soon line the Riverwalk in Edgewater. The medium: Chalk. The artists: Chalktivists – most of them only in high school.

“Most of here are minors and we aren’t allowed to vote yet, so this is our way spreading the message in Edgewater, the way we know how,” said Prianka Ramalingam, 16.

The Ramalingam sisters, Arya, Sarika and Prianka, started chalktavism to bring the movement home.

“We felt like it was our responsibility to talk about racial injustice that was happening to members of the community,” said Sarika, 20.

The trio hopes to reach those who might be unwilling to listen and help them accomplish two things: First, acknowledgement that there is racial injustice in the United States.

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“We try to bring that to light by drawing the faces of the victims of police brutality,” said Sarika. “After you’re forced to acknowledge there is a problem, is then getting informed and educated.”

Drone Force 2 flew along the west bank of the mighty Hudson. It spotted facts interspersed amongst memorials, and a young man taking the time to look and learn.

While many strolling along the Riverwalk pause to appreciate their chalktivism, some don’t respect their efforts, CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported.

Pilar Carranza, 16, told Murdock their work has been spit on.

“Another person called the cops on us,” she said. “Yesterday there was another lady dragging her feet across everything we did.”

Still these young people persist, because Black Lives Matter.

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“The feeling that I was contributing to these people’s memory, and the knowledge of these statistics that are so important,” said 16-year-old Joaquin Carranza.

“We’ve been able to make a difference,” said Henry Medina, 16.

Every day for two weeks now, with no plans to stop their chalktivism until true change happens.

Comments (2)
  1. June King says:

    BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! You are NOT the leaders of tomorrow, you are LEADERS OF TODAY!!!!

    All of my life (I’m 71, Canadian) I have been inspired by teenagers who put forth effort to make a positive difference in bringing about change. So here we are, you at one end of the life spectrum and I at the other but, we stand united for a cause – no generation gap here! God bless each one of you!

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