Six months after Diversity Over Division was launched, a major component of the initiative is scheduled to come to life in June. The multifaceted program is a collaboration among Fort Bend County, the University of Houston at Sugar Land and Fort Bend County Libraries aimed at highlighting the strength found in Fort Bend County’s racial and ethnic diversity.
UH at Sugar Land will soon showcase a 70-foot mural, which will be digitized and displayed in the windows of the school. The mural will feature work from six international artists, said Reginald Adams, artistic director for Diversity Over Division.
“Using artwork as a way of creating some bridges between diverse cultures is a very important strategy,” said Adams, a public artist.
The work will incorporate the text of a spoken-word poem from Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, who served as Houston’s first Black poet laureate.
Mouton said her poem and the art piece are intended to move the conversation forward from the racial reckoning that happened last summer after George Floyd was killed in police custody.
“I wish that I could say that the death of George Floyd was a stand-alone experience and that it wasn’t part of a pattern of really hard and unfair practices,” Mouton said. “We are just getting to the point where it’s not a Black problem ... but that we see it as what it is—a nationwide epidemic of racism that has to be dismantled.”
Jay Neal, the associate vice president and chief operating officer at UH at Sugar Land and UH at Katy, said the university has a moral obligation to provide a platform for important conversations about race and diversity.
“No matter what we do in Fort Bend, there will always be this diversity component, so let’s go ahead and acknowledge it; let’s celebrate it; let’s maximize it for the greater good of our community,” Neal said.