By The ORSMP Steering Committee
The Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural Project (ORSMP) is a creative endeavor of The Rachel Corrie Foundation and Break the Silence Mural Project. The mural tells the tale of two cities linked by tragedy—Olympia, WA and Rafah, Palestine—and is expected to be the largest public art project highlighting the experiences of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. The ultimate goal of the ORSMP is to use art, culture and technology in innovative ways to increase the strength and visibility of movements for social justice in Palestine, Israel, the U.S., and throughout the world.
Located on the north side of the Labor Temple building, on the corner of State St. and Capitol Blvd. in downtown Olympia, this 4,000 square foot mural featuring a huge, interactive olive tree, is the collective effort of hundreds of people. Beautiful and creative tree leaves were designed by local, national and international activists, artists, and social justice organizations.
ORSMP has successfully challenged physical boundaries; people unable to travel to Olympia sent digital images which were printed and included on the wall. Distances are again mitigated by the mural’s audio component whereby viewers can use a cell phone to call and hear the message of each leaf and the history, mission, and goals of each participating artist or organization. Some have included poetry, prose and/or music to express their ideas and feelings. Conceived in 2008 by Susan Greene in collaboration with San Francisco’s Freedom Archives, and created by program designer Sam Stoller, this audio/visual component is also available on the mural’s web site.
With each completed phase of the project, the mural more fully illuminates and strengthens the shared quest for justice and equality across continents, cultures and causes.
On May 8, 2010, The Mural Speaks event unveiled the mural’s audio components. Performances from representatives of mural project participants were featured, including Books to Prisoners, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), Garden Raised Bounty (GRuB), Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, Indigenous Youth Delegation to Palestine (San Francisco), Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies), Inmigrantes Unidos, Movimiento Estudantil Chicano de Azatlan (MEChA), Olympia Movement for Justice & Peace (OMJP), Parents Organizing for Welfare & Economic Rights (POWER), SafePlace, Stonewall Youth, The Rachel Corrie Foundation, The Olympia Rafah Sister City Project and more. Recorded audio of national and international participants were featured, including Leonard Peltier and Flowers Against the Occupation, a Palestinian organization for young women.
Live music was supplied by local musicians Southern Skies, DJ Turtledove, and Grupo Quetzalcoatl de Olympia—a vibrant local Danza Azteca group. The Bay Area group AudioPharmacy also performed.
The Mural Speaks was the finale to “The People’s Assembly: Collaboration, Networking and Solidarity” – a gathering of Olympia’s grassroots organizers to discuss the US Social Forum and strategies for moving the struggle for social justice forward.
ORSMP began in 2007 with a small group of volunteers working through the Rachel Corrie Foundation. Since then, many dedicated community members have contributed to the mural’s success which would not have been possible without their tireless efforts.
To volunteer with the Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural Project or for more information, please email
susangreene [at] mindspring.com.
To listen to the mural audio component, call 360-252-9779.
A map of extension numbers is available on the website www.olympiarafahmural.org, at the mural, and in local businesses.
For more information on The People’s Assembly, please visit www.omjp.net.