Shaker Heights sisters use chalk on sidewalks to write names of police brutality victims nationwide

Published: Jun. 14, 2020 at 10:21 PM EDT
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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Kevin Brunson, Tyree Coyler, Jasper Levi Adams, just three names of nearly 1200 etched in different colors of chalk on Shaker Heights sidewalks. All victims of police brutality from around the country.

A project by two young sisters who wants to spark change.

Sisters Bess and Iris Von Der Heydt, just 17 and 12 years old respectively, took chalk art to a new level. Writing the names of police brutality victims, their age, and the state on sidewalks. Essentially bringing a national issue home to their own front door.

Bess Von Der Heydt says, “We’re like privileged white people, living in an affluent neighborhood of the Shaker community, so we wanted to do something to make it more like in our community, and make it like it’s here.”

Iris, the younger of the two sisters says their parents make sure to keep them updated on current events, and what happened to George Floyd, and the protests really stuck with her.

Iris Von Der Heydt says, “I was shocked when I heard what was going on and I knew that I wanted to do something to kind of help that and show what I believed in.”

The girls and their parents when neighbors offered to join in and help with the project and they hope they learn from it.

“Well I just hope people realize that there needs to be a change,” Bess Von Der Heydt said.

And that the change is real.

“I just want to start the conversations that need to be had, about how we should treat people who are different than us,” Iris Von Der Heydt said.

On the sidewalks, the list of brutality victims stretches about a mile long. The girls hope that people will go the distance to truly solve what they feel is a systemic problem.

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