This piece was inspired by the horrific events of August 11-12th, 2017, which was mere days before I, and the rest of the class of 2021, started life at UVA. I chose to depict this particular event in my piece because it colored much of my welcome –and sometimes, lack thereof– into the University, and was the first of many hardships I would fight through at UVA. I wanted to represent the struggles and the pain that many UVA students of color not only go through, but shine through. While the initial emotions evoked by my piece might be shock or sadness, I implore you to look further and see the pride of overcoming. In depicting August 12th, I share something that was personally very difficult for me to push through – yet I did, because I had to. The way I overcome adversity and strive for excellence in spite of opposition is something I had to represent. This piece was made to celebrate the resilience and determination of UVA students who shine despite it all.