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WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW)– Warrensville Heights High School students came together to make their voices heard and to send a strong message.

“I feel like we need to spread our voice that black lives matter,” junior Maurice Tartt said.

Students and staff picked up paintbrushes Wednesday morning to create a Black Lives Matter mural in front of the high school.

“It’s going to have a place in my heart,” said Venessa Jackson, 2020 graduate. “It makes me happy, so I just feel like I had to participate and show my love for my people.”

Principal Rafiq Vaughn said the school was inspired by a similar mural in Akron, and he hoped to set a precedent by letting students know that they’re supported and their voices matter.

“Our school is 99 percent African-American, so they need to know they’re safe here and they’re supported by our faculty and staff,” Vaughn said.

The district said the Warrensville Heights City School Board approved the mural. Teachers helped to plan and design it, and Vaughn noted the project combined math and art skills.

Fredericks Restaurant donated food for students and volunteers, and Sherwin-Williams assisted the school with purchasing paint for the project.

He said he hoped other schools follow suit and create similar murals.

“We hope we can be the flagship for our community in showing all lives matter, black lives matter, but more importantly, your voice matters,” Vaughn said.

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