By Melissa Moore-Randall
One of the many exciting clubs offered at Revere High
School is the Feminist Empowerment Movement (FEM).FEM focuses on creating gender equality at RHS and in the community through different projects, events, presentations, and collaborations with other organizations. One of the creators of the club is Revere High senior Christy Ly who formed the club with three of her friends during their freshman year.
A new addition to the FEM Club is the Hall of FEM, a twist on ‘Hall of Fame,’ which honors important women from history by painting portraits of them in one of the RHS hallways.
“We have eight portraits planned, with women from history such as Patsy Mink and Coretta Scott King, and short biographies next to their portraits highlighting their activist work. The panels each have a monochromatic theme (one portrait has all red colors, the next has all orange colors, etc), so that when you look down the hallway, there is a rainbow of portraits. We hope that students and teachers will learn more about different women in history, whose work is often overlooked and forgotten. I created the designs and led the project, with FEM members volunteering to help with the painting during club meetings and other days after school,” said Ly who is the child of Vietnamese immigrants.
Last year, Christy designed a mural at RHS dedicated to survivors of sexual assault for during April which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“FEM members and I created the mural in the hallway outside the classroom where our club regularly meets. After we finished the mural for survivors of sexual assault, I had the idea of creating another mural, since there was another blank wall space in the hallway. I also noticed that in between the windows of the hallway, there were large panels. I began imagining what I could transform the hallway into, the different paintings we could add, especially after how wonderful our first mural turned out and the support from students and teachers that we received.
Looking down the hallway, I imagined portraits of feminists lining the hallway, and that was when I got the idea for the current art project.”
“I designed a second mural for the blank wall space dedicated to women’s history to connect with one of FEM’s other projects, 61 Days of Awareness, which combines March (Women’s History Month) with April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) to raise awareness about various gender issues and educate our peers. My friend Kathleen and I went to the high school over the summer to paint the second mural, and then I began planning for the panel spaces and our art project, Hall of FEM.”
An avid drawer since she was younger, Ly eventually tried painting with acrylics for fun. “I really like experimenting with different types of art. Last year, during my junior year, I took an art class at the high school. I took Printmaking and Mixed Media with Ms. Waters, and it was there I explored more mediums and also how I was able to create the murals in the first place. When I had the idea of painting a mural in the school, I asked Ms. Waters for advice on how to make it. She was a huge help, giving different ideas and listing steps for the process, and continues to be very helpful with murals and providing guidance. During my school day, I have an Independent Study with Ms. Waters where I work on preparing for the portraits (tracing the portrait sketches, priming panels, mixing the colors), as well as painting them during class time and staying after school often to work on them more. Ms. Waters and the other art teachers at the high school have been extremely supportive and encouraging as FEM members and I work on creating the paintings.”
According to Ly, The Hall of FEM project has received lots of support from students and teachers. “As I work on painting during my Independent Study, students will pass in the hallway and give positive comments or ask what I’m working on. I remember the times after school when teachers stopped on their way out to give positive comments, too, or the moments I see someone pausing to read the biographies next to the portraits. It’s been amazing creating something for the school with other students – to work on something we all care about – and I’m really grateful to have this opportunity. My goal for the Hall of FEM to be completed by the end of this school year, before I graduate, and I hope I can continue to work with the community in the future.”
Eric Carlson, Revere High FEM Advisor, The Hall of FEM shows Christy’s artistic talent and her commitment to the community of Revere. For several years, it has been a pleasure to watch her use her passion for art in a way that improves the learning community for everyone in the Revere Public Schools.”
“Christy Ly is one of the most intelligent and dedicated students I have ever worked with. This project showcases her efforts to beautify her community, increase representation of women of color, and raise awareness about important social issues, and the results are inspiring. Thank you so much for highlighting the work she is doing–she is a remarkable young woman.” —Beth DiNolo, Co-Advisor of the RHS FEM Club.