Since its inception in 2008, First Park on First Avenue and First Street is known for its vibrant art scene – a formerly abandoned lot converted into open art space for the Lower East Side. There’s an on-going open call for murals on the plywood walls inside First Park, but most recently, the initiative No More Black Targets, which launched at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on January 15th, has taken up residence in the passageway between Houston Street and First Street.
No More Black Targets is using art to highlight what they see as a “disturbing potential correlation: The most popular target for shooters to learn to use their firearm is a black silhouette. Unconscious bias can be deadly and it is contributing to one of the biggest violence issues in modern America.”
The data behind the Black Lives Matter movement has been clear: Black men are 3x more likely to be shot and killed versus their white peers and the idea behind No More Black Targets is based on a study by the University of Illinois by Yara Mekawi and Konrad Bresin that compiled findings from 42 studies on trigger bias. In an interview with NPR, Mekawi says, “In our study we found two main things: First, people were quicker to shoot black targets with a gun, relative to white targets with a gun. And … people were more trigger-happy when shooting black targets compared to shooting white targets.”
The goal of No More Black Targets is to eliminate the use of black human silhouette targets in shooting ranges. The collective of artists is using print, digital media, printmaking and spray paint to transform the targets into works of art. While you can view the work by the artists in person at First Park, you can get involved by making your own target for display at an upcoming exhibition at the Richard Taittinger Gallery on February 19th. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get a physical target sent to you by FedEx or a digital version emailed to you. Other ways to get involved include signing the petition or make your own targets online with some set patterns and designs. Share your work using the hashtag #NoMoreBlackTargets.
Next, check out 12 art installations not to miss in NYC this month.