The circumstances that led to the creation of our mural in October 2008 are quite remarkable. A friend of one of our DMA staff members knew a mural artist who was traveling to raise awareness about government repression and community organizing in Oaxaca, a southern state in Mexico. In Davis for just a short time, artist Jesús Kobe offered to paint a mural depicting community, media and their place here in Davis.
He specifically wanted to gift us with this mural because of the history in Oaxaca. During the latter half of 2006, a teacher’s strike began a complex chain of events that eventually led to the Oaxacan people peacefully taking over the state-run TV and radio stations when they tired of the truth not being disseminated. In the intervening months, martial law was imposed upon Oaxaca, hundreds were killed—not only residents, but an Indymedia journalist from New York City named Bradley Will. Will’s death actually turned the world’s focus to Oaxaca for one brief moment in October of that year.
Oaxaca’s story is one that has been played out in nearly every developing nation: resources plundered, indigenous peoples marginalized. What was significantly different here was the way people viewed the media, and the ways in which they used media to organize for social change. To them, media was a tool for disseminating information, not for manufacturing content. When they (peacefully) took over the radio and TV stations, it was to talk about the number of Oaxacan children who go hungry, or the need for medical and teaching supplies. As the military bore down on them, radio and television became a means to organize neighborhood barricades to keep the people safe. All of this and more is detailed in an excellent documentary called Un Poquito de Tanto Verdad (A Little Bit of So Much Truth). [Note; we screened this film on Oct. 5, 2008 at DMA to a full house.] To read more about our mural's history, link here.