Heroes Without Capes

Korematsu Elementary School Mural

Our mural began as an idea for the class of 2021’s legacy project.  A shout out was made for anyone who would be willing to help create a “social justice” mural with contributions from our 6th grade class of 2021.  Marina Sterner, local artist and fellow Korematsu parent, volunteered for the task.  The class of 2021, staff, and leadership students of that year all got a say in which social justice warriors/heroes would be incorporated in the mural on the backside of our F wing building facing the blacktop and Mace Ranch Park.

Once the list of heroes was decided, Marina created her concept. 

After district approval, Marina began the mural in May of 2021.

Marina worked on the mural for the next few years, fitting it in on weekends and when she could. We are so grateful for all her hard work and dedication in getting the project started. When we realized some help was needed to complete the project, PTO hired local muralist and artist, Toni Rizzo.  

In March 2023 Toni went to work on finishing the mural.  She worked during school days so students got to watch her in action, ask her questions, and chat with her about what it’s like being an artist.

Thank you to our muralists Marina Sterner and Toni Rizzo for their talent and hard work to create this incredible piece of art.  Also, thank you to Ashley Burgdorf and our Korematsu PTO for facilitating and funding our mural. A BIG thank you to Kelly Moore Paints for donating ALL the paint to make this beautiful piece of art possible. A special thank you to the Davis Schools Art Foundation (DSAF) for their generous grant to help fund this inspiring legacy.

This mural honors many social justice activists who work/worked to make our world a better place. We included a variety of heroes, both past and present, who share the common goal of making our world a more inclusive, safe, equitable, and kind place for all humans.

Please see below for more information about each hero’s life.  We hope it motivates you to be a hero in your own life– someone who makes our world a better place for all.

The Heroes

*Temple Grandin is a CSU professor of animal sciences and renowned animal behaviorist and autism activist.

*Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader of the modern American Civil Rights Movement from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, who worked toward racial equality in America. Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

*Harvey Milk was a visionary civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

*Ruby Bridges is a civil rights icon, activist, author, and speaker. In 1960, when Ruby Bridges was only six years old, she became one of the first black children to integrate New Orleans’ all white public school system. Greeted by an angry mob and escorted by federal marshals, Ruby bravely crossed the threshold of this school and into history single-handedly initiating the desegregation of New Orleans’ public schools.

*Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. She successfully fought against gender discrimination throughout her life.

*Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who is known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation.

*Wilma Mankiller was a Native American activist, social worker, community developer and the first woman elected to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

 *Madonna Thunder Hawk is a Native American civil rights activist best known as a leader in the       American Indian Movement and as an organizer against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

*Fred T. Korematsu was an American civil rights activist who resisted the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and proudly, our school’s namesake.

*Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, is a co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers. 

*John Lewis was one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, John Lewis continued to fight for people’s rights from 1987 when he joined Congress until his death in 2020.

*Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and social activist. Born into chattel slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 similarly-enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

*Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Awarded when she was 17, she is the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and the second Pakistani and the first Pashtun to receive a Nobel Prize.

*Cesar Chavez was a civil rights, Latino and farm labor leader; a community organizer and social entrepreneur; a champion of militant nonviolent social change; and a crusader for the environment and consumer rights.

*Iqbal Masih was a Pakistani child laborer and activist who campaigned against abusive child labor in Pakistan.