Sitka Mural Urges ‘Respect,’ Addresses Domestic Violence

Inside the University of Alaska Southeast in Sitka, a team of volunteers has been painting for the last week. Their work will be assembled into a mural designed to highlight a serious community issue: Domestic violence.

Photo by Ed Ronco, KCAW - Sitka

Emma Bruhl, age 15, has been in a staring contest this week with Elizabeth Peratrovich. The Native civil rights icon died in 1958, but an image of her face has been gazing out from a piece of fabric, which Bruhl has been hunched over, painting, for the last couple days.

“Yeah, we’re well-acquainted, me and Elizabeth’s face,” Bruhl said. “We got to know each other well.”

Bruhl is one of about 150 people who have shown up to paint the “Choose Respect” mural. It’s designed to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence.

At the moment, the mural is broken into 18 panels, with portions of the design sketched on each, and little tiny numbers are scribbled into the sketch by mural designer Eliseo Art Silva.

That’s right. This is paint by numbers, writ large – 12 feet tall and 24 feet across.

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Ed Ronco is a reporter at KCAW in Sitka.