Sylvia Sawislak is a freshman at UC Santa Cruz. She was previously the Youth Spirit Artworks Street Spirit leader.
As I walk through a Roma village in Istanbul, I see pink and yellow painted houses that are rusting, with open windows that have clothes hanging down the sides. There is trash everywhere I step. Ahead of me in the distance, I see tall buildings that are multicolored and modern. These are the apartment buildings that are replacing the Roma village. As Roma activist Sadi Cati shows me around, the Roma people living in the little houses look very unhappy while staring at me.
An art cart parked on Adeline Street was the first sign that there was an event happening on Saturday, January 26. That night, passersby would have noticed a crowd gathered inside of Youth Spirit Artworks’ Shanice Kiel Gallery. The crowded, well-lit room stood out against the dark streets surrounding it.