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West Side mural honoring U.S. Rep. Danny Davis completed

Photo caption: The Safer Foundation Danny K. Davis Second Chance Center in Chicago.

The design of a new Safer Foundation mural honoring U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL-07) and his work making the successful reentry of citizens with arrest and conviction records a national priority has been completed. It will be sealed with a protective sealant.

The painting of the 3,500 square-foot, 30-foot-high mural, designed on the Safer Foundation’s Community Office building, 808 S. Kedzie Ave. in East Garfield Park, has been completed. The mural received a coating of sealant on Wednesday, June 21. The lead artist, Janel Young, a 31-year-old painter and muralist with rising national acclaim and a passion for equity, began working on the mural with her team of four other artists on June 2.

In the coming months, the Safer Foundation building will also get light renovations to its façade and lobby area and a new name – The Safer Foundation-Danny K. Davis – Second Chance Center.

The Safer Foundation building, which offers a wholistic suite of reentry services, including education and training, employment, housing and behavioral health services, is located in the 7th district, which Rep. Davis has represented since 1997.

“Rep. Davis has been a strong advocate for the West Side of Chicago and residents of neglected communities throughout his career,” said Victor Dickson, president and CEO of the Safer Foundation. “Even before his political career began, he provided community services out of this very same building that we’re installing the mural on. As Congressman, Rep. Davis has fought especially hard to bring very necessary resources to people with records, remove barriers to successful reentry and ensure pathways to careers.”

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis

Rep. Davis was chief sponsor of the national Second Chance Act of 2007, which authorizes federal grants for vital programs and systems reforms aimed at improving the reentry process. The Second Chance Act was signed into law on April 9, 2008 and reauthorized in 2019. Since 2009, more than $1 billion in grants have been issued to grantees, including Safer Foundation, across 49 states. In turn, more than 100,000 returning citizens have accessed training, employment, treatment and other vital services to help them reintegrate into society.

“Rep. Davis worked on securing bipartisan support for the Second Chance Act several years before it passed in 2008,” Dickson said. “At a time when no one was advocating to assist returning residents, Rep. Davis was successful in bringing this issue to the forefront of the national agenda.”

In addition to the Second Chance Act, the Safer Foundation recognizes Rep. Davis for sponsoring legislation that created federally qualified health centers to provide health care in poor communities. As a result, Safer Foundation offers the Supportive Reentry Network Collaborative, which provides comprehensive wraparound services, including connecting returning citizens to health care.

Young, a Pittsburgh native turned Chicago resident, who has been widely recognized and honored in Pittsburgh for her incredible artwork wrapping the city in color, who designed a Black History logo for Yahoo! in 2021, and whose artwork was featured in the 2020 U.S. Open Tennis Championship, said she was honored to design the mural featuring Rep. Davis.

“It’s a great honor honestly.  It’s something where you can feel how tangible the impact is. The things that he has accomplished in his life and being able to see the fruition of his work I think is really incredible,” said Young, a Bridging Fellow and Penn State University alumna who advocates for social change, racial and environmental justice and for artists.

“I’m just really honored to be able to play a small part in helping others see what’s he’s done and hopefully making people curious about who he is.”

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