Images of Love, Hope and Unity Surround Kenosha

'Love is the answer' painted on plywood walls in Kenosha, Wisconsin, photographed by Veronica King.

Ugly tan plywood appeared on windows around the city of Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23, as the city braced for protests and potential damage to property. In response, a group called Kenosha Creative Space came up with the idea of encouraging residents of the city to paint the plywood with the themes of Love, Hope, and Unity, and soon, what was an idea became a reflection of a city grappling with violence responding in a way that did not diminish the pain, but insisted on a better future. 

Veronica King was one Kenosha resident who loved the result.  As King drove around the city, she noticed how many of the images contained scripture passages and she began to photograph them and share them on Facebook as part of her work with Congregations to Serve Humanity (CUSH), an Interfaith organization in Kenosha where she is Vice President.  “This is one way to help begin the healing of our community,” says King, describing the messages and images of hope.  

Another part of healing came through an Interfaith prayers service held at Second Baptist Church of Kenosha on Sunday afternoon outside of one of the churches that is a member of CUSH.  On a sunny, warm afternoon, religious leaders from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Episcopal Baptist, and other traditions gathered outdoors at a safe social distance to offer prayers of hope and show interfaith solidarity in this difficult time in their community. Rabbi Dena Feingold, who serves as the leader of Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, prayed for the city of Kenosha and the family of Jacob Blake, urging the community to address systemic racism and begin the process of rebuilding and healing.  Read her whole prayer here

CUSH is focused on love and healing but also on acknowledging the persistence of racism that afflicts the city.  In a statement on their website they also insist that prayers are not enough and the time is now to act 

We know that hopes and prayers are not enough to stop a speeding bullet or to counteract centuries’ worth of systemic racism and the calculated oppression of our siblings of color so ubiquitous in this nation’s history that many of the privileged among us still do not recognize it even exists. We know that in addition to the hope of our hearts and the prayers of our souls we must act. 

“We can live peacefully and safely if we work together, to work through our differences, get rid of systemic racism and have a strategic plan to move forward,” King further explained, emphasizing that CUSH is working with the Mayor’s office along with the Chief of Police and other community leaders to help bring the faith voice, and increased diversity to the committees that are being formed to address racism and to heal the city. 

Veronica King brings her own history as a community leader to the effort as the former local NAACP chapter president, as well as her history as a social worker, a profession she decided upon when she was 10 years old and had a dedicated social worker who would check on her monthly at her foster home.  King’s work with faith communities started with her own foster parents who were active in their church who offered her “Footing and my grounding."

Even as people come from the outside, eager to disrupt with a rhetoric of division and acts of violence, Veronica King and so many other residents in the Interfaith and artistic communities are working hard to fight against racial injustice and heal Kenosha with hope, love, and unity.  

Religious leaders of diverse faiths offer prayers and reflections at the CUSH Interfaith prayer service held at the Second Baptist Church of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Messages of peace painted on walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin

Messages of hope painted on walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin

#KenoshaStrong painted on a banner hangs over the ruins of a building, and another painted wall portrays a message from scriptures.

An MLK quote and messages of peace and love are painted on walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Scriptures quoted on walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Scripture quotes and message of strength and resilience painted around Kenosha, Wisconsin

Paintings of Love, Unity, Justice, painted on brick walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Paintings of love and hope around Kenosha, Wisconsin

Black Lives Matter and messages of unity painted on plywood walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin

Paintings of love and peace around Kenosha, Wisconsin

Paintings of love and equality on plywood walls around Kenosha, Wisconsin

Messages of the power of love painted on plywood walls across Kenosha, Wisconsin


#Interfaith is a self-paced, online learning opportunity designed to equip a new generation of leaders with the awareness and skills to promote interfaith cooperation online. The curriculum is free to Interfaith America readers; please use the scholarship code #Interfaith100. #Interfaith is presented by IFYC in collaboration with


more from IFYC

Many content creators use their platforms to build community beyond their brick-and-mortar congregations, to dispel myths, break stereotypes and invite people from diverse faiths to get a glimpse into their lives.
IFYC's innovative online learning experience, #Interfaith: Engaging Religious Diversity Online, offers lessons on how to approach others online in a way that leads to building bridges.
Lessons from Thich Nhat Hanh, the person who nominated Martin Luther King Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize and encouraged King to speak out against the war in Vietnam.
What Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk and activist Thich Nhat Hanh taught me about the power of mindful breathing through art.
A scholar of democratic virtues explains why Dominican monk Thomas Aquinas’ thoughts on hope are relevant today.
From covering spirituality in Silicon Valley to writing an online newsletter about her own journey to Judaism, reporter Nellie Bowles keeps finding innovative ways to reflect on religion and technology.
Six ways religious and spiritual leaders can help the internet serve their communities right now.
At the request of his editors at Religion News Service, Omar Suleiman writes about waiting with hostages’ families.
Regardless of what happens on Capitol Hill, the PNBC leaders said they plan to lobby Congress in March and register voters weekly in their congregations and communities.
King’s exasperation at self-satisfied white Christians holds up a mirror that is still painfully accurate today.
A day before the U.S. Senate was expected to take up significant legislation on voting rights that is looking likely to fail, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s eldest son condemned federal lawmakers over their inaction.
The congregation’s rabbi, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, is particularly well connected to the larger interfaith community and on good terms with many Muslim leaders.
For Martin Luther King Day, an interfaith panel reflects on the sacredness of the vote and the legacy of Reverend King.
In his new book, Princeton historian Julian E. Zelizer reexamines the life of Abraham Joshua Heschel and finds lessons for interfaith political activism today.
King drew criticism from Billy Graham, who told journalists that he thought King was wrong to link anti-war efforts with the civil rights movement.
Some are calling out historical injustices the church has carried out against Native Americans, even as others find their faith empowering.
IFYC’s Vote is Sacred campaign launched on January 13. Faith leaders, public intellectuals, activists, and organizers are joining to advocate for an inclusive, nonpartisan interfaith approach to restoring and protecting our democracy.
One out of five Muslims is in an interfaith relationship, surveys suggest. But few imams are willing to conform the traditional Muslim wedding ceremony to their needs, couples say.
In her popular podcast series, Corrigan invites guests to wonder about 'the elephant in America's living room': belief and religion. 'I hope I have a hundred more conversations like these in 2022 and beyond,' she says.
In his annual address to the Vatican's diplomatic corps, the pope stressed the individual's responsibility 'to care for ourself and our health, and this translates into respect for the health of those around us.'
The very people who have been subject to the worst of the United States have embodied its best.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.