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What Makes Damon Lamar Reed An Everyday Hero?

Author: Josh Daniels
by Josh Daniels
Posted: Sep 18, 2022
Your Everyday Heroes has been fortunate to work with Damon Lamar Reed. We were initially drawn to his story because (1) he is simply a talented mural artist, and (2) his work creating downtown Chicago murals serves a purpose higher than himself, something we’ll touch on in a bit. While we by no means consider self-serving art "bad," we wish to promote work that leaves our audience feeling inspired; Reed far exceeds these criteria.

"One of my taglines is, ‘Create, inspire, and uplift,’" the painter of stunning murals tells us.

The purpose of Reed’s most recent project Still Searching is to lend a voice to a group of women who have had their own voices taken from them. Still Searching is a collection of portraits and downtown Chicago murals of Black women who have gone missing in the Chicagoland area. In Lamar’s own words, "I do it to raise awareness, I do it to bring honour, and I do it to create something beautiful."

What Makes Damon Lamar Reed An Everyday Hero?

To the families of the women he paints in his downtown Chicago murals, Damon Lamar Reed is an everyday hero. "Damon is a godsend," says Shakelia Jackson, the aunt of Yasmin Acree, who was 15 when she went missing in 2008. Her case was largely ignored by the media. But when Reed painted Acree, a flame was reignited in the search for her. Jackson goes on to say of Reed, "God touched him. He used him to wake up everyone."

Even Chicago’s local government has "woken up" because of Reed’s murals: the city recently gave him a grant that will fund future murals, which will include QR codes that link viewers to details regarding the missing people being portrayed in the murals.

Reed believes that his murals will have a "ripple effect" that can potentially lead to cold cases being solved; with greater attention brought to these missing women through his murals, people who were involved with their disappearances may feel compelled to share information, and police will be more likely to investigate old leads.

This ripple effect is nothing new. For example, because of the popularity of true crime podcast Your Own Backyard, an arrest was recently made in connection with the cold case of Kristen Smart, a California college student who went missing in the late ‘90s. Reed’s murals could absolutely reignite interest in their subjects, leading to arrests or, hopefully, the finding of missing women.

Damon Reed is an everyday hero because he uses his gifts to do good. While we may not all be talented mural artists, we all have skills that can, as Reed puts it, "inspire and uplift." However, how we use these gifts is our choice. Reed exemplifies the hero that’s within us all.

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Author: Josh Daniels

Josh Daniels

Member since: May 19, 2022
Published articles: 17

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