Jacksonville First Lady Molly Curry unveils mosaic to inspire human trafficking survivors

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Tuesday morning, the First Lady Molly Curry Educational Art Legacy Project was launched in Jacksonville’s Springfield neighborhood. This long-awaited project, started by Jacksonville First Lady Molly Curry, aims to inspire and give hope to survivors of human trafficking.

Curry worked closely with Rethreaded’s Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope, a nonprofit that forms relationships with women on the street and creates a safe space and supportive place for them to thrive.

“My commitment to Rethreaded started about 10 years ago when I was given a Grace scarf like this one by a special friend,” Curry said. “Since then I have become an advocate for ending human trafficking.”

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The educational art installation is named ‘Reclaiming the Light: A Survivor’s Journey’ and was co-created by RouxArt and Muralist Nico. The self-guided tour starts at the entrance of Rethreaded’s Delores Barr Weaver Campus of Hope and wraps around the tower onto the back.

“The art details the path a survivor takes when they reclaim their light,” Curry said.

Across the mural are the personal stories of healing from survivors — in vibrant art and word form.

“We wanted to include metaphors like the caged bird,” RouxArt mosaic artist Kate Rouh said. “The first image that you see and symbol is the mirror cage just before you enter the gate and you’ll notice there is one bird escaping that cage. As you come around, you encounter there’s darkness and confusion — and yet there’s hope and the glimmer of stars.”

Another section of the mural shows a mirror of four women to help survivors understand that they’re not alone.

“I came here off the streets and was welcomed here with open arms and loved,” LJ Weyandt with Rethreaded said. “So I’ve loved myself.”

Weyandt said the project has a deep meaning to her. “It’s like our story coming to life in such beautiful art and a beautiful display to everyone,” Weyandt said.

A mosaic of a woman surrounded by blooming flowers represents renewal and hope.

“The woman there represents every woman,” Rouh said. “She could be any of us.”

Katy Connell with Rethreaded described her emotions on Tuesday.

“It makes me feel important,” Connell said. “It makes me feel like I matter.”

Connell described the impact Rethreaded has had on her life.

“My life has changed completely,” Connell said. “I’ve gotten therapy, a community, now I have a car and an apartment. I’ve engaged to be married.”

Community members can also find positive affirmations compiled by survivors.

Mayor Lenny Curry shared a few words to his wife at the dedication.

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“Just to see you blossom as a leader, that’s actually out front on the issues that you care about — I’m really proud of you for this,” Mayor Curry said. “This is a tremendous legacy that you’re going to be a part of for all of the good work that’s done here. I love you.”

The project was made possible by the generous donation of Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne Estate.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline ranks Florida as third in the United States for the number of reported human trafficking cases.

“I now challenge every individual in business and Jacksonville to take the pledge and to learn how to spot human trafficking,” First Lady Molly Curry said.

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If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocate. Support is provided in more than 200 languages. You can also email help@humantraffickinghotline.org.

To report a potential human trafficking situation, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or submit a tip online here.

All communication with the hotline is strictly confidential.