It was the site of a Pasco fatal shooting. Now it will become a place of community hope

A mural is forming, and it’s doing it right in the heart of Pasco.

Soon, the west wall of Vinny’s Bakery, Cafe & Bistro will be transformed into an art piece by kids from the local juvenile detention center.

It’s called the Community Hope Wall, and they just got the signal to move forward.

The project is the brainchild of Jordan Chaney, a local poet and a mentor at the Benton-Franklin Juvenile Justice Center.

The effort started when the juvenile center introduced an art space. Chaney saw murals the kids were painting, but he wanted to involve the community, and he said the right place to do it was Vinny’s Bakery.

“Vinny represents the soul of America right now, as far as being an immigrant with his own business in the crosshairs of political-cultural turmoil,” Chaney said.

But the spot is significant in another way. Antonio Zambrano-Montes was outside the bakery when he was fatally shot by police in 2015.

“I would like to see, in areas where there is wounds, acknowledgment and something new — love — rising. I think it is very important for us as a community to heal,” Chaney said.

He said it matters what adults do in the aftermath of these things, while “all our children are watching.”

Inmates will create the mural’s design in the “art dojo,” a repurposed room in the Benton County Juvenile Justice Center. Maya Leshikar

He wants the mural to be an exercise in mending and moving forward.

It takes a village to restore hope, Chaney said. And not just within the kids, but within the entire community.

Youth artists

The image will be wholly designed by the youth at the juvenile center.

The permit was issued Tuesday, which gives them six months to finish the mural.

“Vinny said this is bigger than art, and it is,” he said. “There aren’t very many things bigger than art out there. But I’m biased.”

Chaney also has another project that just came out — a book.

“Keep Ya Head Up” is a collection of poems written by youth in detention, for youth in detention. All the contributors are kids from the Benton County Juvenile Justice Center.

His goal with the book is the same as with the wall — to get through to kids, and adults, with a message of hope.

“My personal mission is to raise the compassion quotient of our area,” he said. “What people don’t know when they go on tricityherald.com or KEPR and they start going in on these kids, is what’s in this book.

“They can still have their criticisms, but maybe they’ll be more inspired to take action to do things to change the soil of the community so that the environment for the kids is different. Then they will have less to criticize themselves because their compassion is higher. I think that’s what storytelling has the power to do.”

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