|Amy Ellenbogen and Jose Cedillo, holding his winning piece|
Congratulations to Jose Cedillo, who won the recent Arts to End Violence art contest! Our judges honored Jose’s work out of several dozen excellent submissions to the festival.
|We Can End It, by Jose Cedillo|
The piece, entitled “We Can End It,” expresses Jose’s belief that gang violence is wrong and that anyone, including those involved in gangs, can choose peace. It reflects a change in Jose’s own life, as he was once gang-affiliated. He describes his former self as “one of those types of guys you wouldn’t see past 21” and part of the high-risk population S.O.S. reaches. However, on the very day Jose planned officially to join a gang, his friend was stabbed and it transformed his perspective on gangs and violence.
Since then, Jose has shared the message of nonviolence with family and friends by telling stories about the realities of gang violence. He also became an officer in his school’s branch of the National Honor Society and used his position to encourage other students to pursue paths that lead to success, rather than violence.
Jose has been creating art since his childhood and started sharing it publicly a few years ago. He recently graduated from high school and plans to study culinary arts or medicine in the future.