Local students, nonprofit shares message of hope in murals against gun violence

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A local nonprofit teamed up with Albuquerque students to spread a message they hope can ease the pain of gun violence, and to help remind people to stop the violence.

The sound of a hammer filled the air at Shady side Farm in the South Valley Monday as unwanted guns were converted into farming tools.

“Our mission, we’re a non-profit, is to prevent gun violence in New Mexico. It’s a multipronged, multifaceted problem that demands a multipronged approach,” said Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.  

Putting unwanted guns to use on farms is one approach, murals is another. A new work of art was created in collaboration between artist Warren Montoya, and students at RFK. 

“It was pretty fun, I was getting impatient with it because it’s a lot of work, but I love how it turned out,” said Kaery Camacho, a Robert F Kennedy Charter Middle School student. 

The mural is packed with meaning, graves are marked with the locations of mass shootings around the country, and the name of a local victim. 

“You know when we do these projects there’s always the stories that come out, and things that come up for people in their own experiences, about their own lives,” said Warren Montoya, artist.   

“I like that they let us put our own special touch on it, so for me my cross for my uncle,” said Camacho.  

The mural is just one of a dozen murals created in collaboration with New Mexicans to End Gun Violence. 

Organizers and student artists say their hope is to get people thinking.

“My hopes of accomplishing this is to make people realize that they’re harming other people, and they’re harming their families, and that they’re harming themselves,” said Rut Torrecillas, a student. 

And to start conversations that can lead to a better future. 

“I think it’s not going to end violence for one day for another, but I think it’s going to at least put that thought in someone’s mind that there is gun violence happening around the world, and that we do need to do something about it,” said Camacho.