Squirrel’s Stories —
These days 15-year-old Sierra and Sophia Smith share more than just a bond of being twin sisters. The Hamilton High School sophomores now share a piece of art called Hands of Freedom.
Art, they hope inspires change.
“Hands of Freedom originally started off with my sister just putting a bunch of hands on a canvas. A painting she was ready to throw away, but I saw something special in it and we turned into an amazing piece of artwork,” said Sierra.
Surrounding the collage of hands are powerful words within reach. Words we should all live by like equality, respect, freedom, pride, justice, fairness, and rights. Two months ago, these seven words might not have stood out but today these words are making people think.
“If all people had freedom, justice, pride, equality, respect, fairness and rights maybe our country would be better. It would be nice if people wouldn’t see others for their differences, but instead see them for simply being human beings,” said Sierra.
There is no doubt young people, particularly African American children and teens have been impacted by the brutal murder of George Floyd and other recent events.
“It’s been challenging to process everything happening in our country. We talk about it a lot as a family, and we need change in America. We feel this movement is helping and ALL people are now seeing why change must come,” said Sophia.
What Sophia and Sierra did not expect was the powerful reaction they would get to their painting.
When the teens’ mom Susan Casper, co-host of Sonoran Living on ABC15 posted it on her Facebook page, the support and messages of hope was overwhelming and so tremendous they decided to make it into a t-shirt.
“We are so proud of our kind-hearted daughters. It’s not easy raising teenagers in a generation so consumed by social media. The girls, however, have found a way to balance all the online chatter through art. Both Sophia and Sierra are naturally gifted in the arts, so their painting and T-shirts are just a reflection of their beautiful souls,” said Susan and husband Sidney Smith.
“We are who we are today because of our parents. They have taught us so many things which have helped us get to where we are in life. They have always told us we can be whatever we want to be regardless of our race, ethnicity or gender and we thank them for that,” said Sophia.
More than 50 t-shirts have already been sold to family, friends, and others in the community. The girls are now paying it forward and donating a portion of the proceeds to a youth charity that helps kids in the inner city.
“It would be amazing to know that my sister and I could have such a great impact on our community. We would truly be overwhelmed to know that our donation to a local nonprofit could help a teenager have a better future,” said Sierra.
The shirts are $25. Email Susan at email@example.com if you would like to support Hands of Freedom.