Art creates change

Ava Hunt

Over seven billion people in the world. One hundred and ninety five countries. One human race. 

Each year, the Leadership for Five Seasons (LFS) program holds an event with the goal of giving back to the community. This year, the group decided to focus the event on racial equity. Xavier junior and LFS student Ella Tallett created her “One Human Race” design for this year’s event, which will be shown on t-shirts sold through 100% OVER RACISM. The 100% OVER RACISM company started as a protest sign against racism after George Floyd’s murder and a portion of the proceeds go towards supporting Black-owned businesses in Eastern Iowa. 

Tallett’s design will be spread throughout the community, showing the group’s message. 

“Throughout the last couple years, I feel like the events that took place made all of us reflect on the inequalities of this world that we had grown blind to,” Tallett said. “Our generation can and needs to do better than the generations that came before us and we must all help to push this change.” 

Throughout the past year, there have been many events that have illuminated the issue of racial equity in the United States, including the COVID-19 outbreak causing racist attacks against Asian people, specifically directed towards Chinese people in America and around the world. Other examples are the killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and more. Protests and events were held in hopes to combat these events, having similar goals as LFS and Tallett do. Through her art, Tallett hopes to help make this change. 

“I am a huge believer in the power of art creating change. Art educates and art empowers,” Tallett said. “Even something as simple as a t-shirt or a mural can make that difference.”

The issue of equality has major effects worldwide, yet it also has prominent effects on the Xavier community. Some students share an opinion similar to Tallett’s hopes for her design and its impact. 

“I think the message is important because it shows that we are all connected and all of us deserve the same opportunities,” junior Jaleah Klein said. “I hope the design impacts the community by getting people talking and sparks a change so all of us start to care for each other and make a difference.”

Many artists throughout history have found different ways to express themselves through their works and Tallett hopes to inspire the community in the same way. Tallett emphasized her belief that people should not use differences as a means for division because people are one human race as a whole. 

“I hope people start to put equality at the forefront of every decision made,” Tallett said. “If people think with the mindset that we are one human race, they will realize that we do need a police reform, we do need LGBTQ+ rights, etc. simply because no one has the privilege of taking away rights that every human is entitled to.”

Other people in the community, along with members and leaders of LFS, share the same viewpoint on Tallett’s design and what they hope its impact will be. 

“The LFS Youth Class of 2021 voted on Ella’s ‘One Human Race’ design because it perfectly encompassed the message that they wanted to share with the community,” LFS moderator Jessica Komisar said. “We hope that with the design, the community will be more open to these efforts and bring more awareness to the importance of diversity and inclusion.” 

The t-shirt featuring Tallett’s design is sold through 100% OVER RACISM until the end of March for fundraising for both an inclusive mural in the Cedar Rapids community and park clean up. For more information on how to purchase this t-shirt and more from 100% OVER RACISM, visit As Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, once said, “We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race.”