City Clerk Strikes Winning Sticker Design Over Gang Affiliation Concerns
Amidst concerns that a Chicago high school student’s winning vehicle sticker design depicted gang signs, City Clerk Susana Mendoza announced Wednesday that the entry would be tossed out and replaced with the second-place winning artwork.
The design’s intent, according to the Huffington Post, was questioned in a blog frequently read by Chicago police on Tuesday, raising concern that the artwork, which shows four hands above a heart with a city skyline drawn in it, referenced the Maniac Latin Disciples gang.
Fifteen-year-old Herbert Pulgar created the now controversial design, which was chosen by some 18,000 Chicagoans in a contest late last year, reported ABC Chicago. According to Pulgar, the inspiration for the artwork, which also makes reference to the city’s firefighters, policemen and paramedics, was meant to honor first responders that helped save his life when he was 4-years-old.
Despite Pulgar’s explanation, Mendoza decided to strike the design after consulting with former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Jody Weis and other gang experts. In a press conference on Wednesday she said, “I cannot ask drivers to put a sticker on their cards that may be misconstrued as containing gang symbols. Communities suffer as a result of gang violence,” reported the Chicago Sun-Times.
The new design, created by Resurrection High School senior Caitlin Henehan, also pays tribute to the first responders, portraying them as superheroes flying through the city’s skyline. The sticker will go on sale in June and will feature Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mendoza’s name for the first time.