Santa Clara County Reentry Resource Center unveils new ‘We the Deserving’ mural

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Kicking off its 10-year anniversary, the Santa Clara County Reentry Resource Center (RRC) unveiled a new mural on Thursday.

“Having a mural like this is an important first impression of our center, it helps set the tone for our clients’ state of mind when they enter unfamiliar spaces like this,” said Javier Aguirre, director of the Santa Clara County Office of Reentry Services. 

“For reentry clients just getting here is difficult, many do not have transportation, they may have to walk a long way, many are hungry, cold, barefoot, homeless, scared, and hopeless,” Aguirre added. 

“Having artwork like this sends a message that we are here to help, we have faith in their capabilities and we will work together to fit their needs.”

The new mural is a gift from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that was created by SJSU sociology and studio art graduate Briena Brown and artist Urna Bajracharya, a UCLA design media arts student. 

“The process of creating this mural was to make something bright and beautiful, so that was at the forefront of our mind when we were designing it,” said Bajracharya.

“We want it to be a very positive experience for the visitors, so that’s what we hope for the future of the mural, that it holds a space for positivity and growth.”

Brown and Bajracharya tell KRON4 News the mural began over a year ago when they met during a George Floyd protest. 

The title of the new mural is “We the deserving.”

“I personally never experienced what it’s like to go through the prison system but I think it’s important to realize that it’s not enough to just be compassionate anymore, you can experience empathy but to actually want to do something about it is something that can be done without actually experiencing it,” said Brown. 

“And I think that hopefully that attitude spreads across the county and will be able to address the root issue of so many Black and Brown people being incarcerated.”

The artwork, funded by the NAACP, celebrates the Reentry Resource Center’s decade of helping some of the county’s most vulnerable residents re-enter back into their community with the needed tools to achieve their goals. 

The RRC first opened back in 2012 in an effort to provide resources to formerly incarcerated individuals and to help them properly integrate back into the community. 

Under one roof, a range of organizations and departments collaborate and work together to provide referrals for mental health and substance use treatment, public benefits enrollment, counseling, health care, education, record expungement services, employment referrals, and housing, and shelter information to clients of the RRC. 

“Those of you who were with us back then 10 years ago, you’ll remember that the amount the county was going to be allocating was unknown until the final budget and also the start date for the realignment was unknown,” said Miguel Márquez, Santa Clara County Chief Operating Officer. 

“They gave us three whole months to prepare, it was a sprint, but since then we’ve hit our stride for the past 10 years and we’re still running stronger than ever.”

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January 01 2022 12:00 am