It has been a real honor to be asked to do the “caricature” art for the Salvation Army’s DJ’s Hero luncheon for the past five or six years.
In the process, I have been able to hear some amazing stories, and met some phenomenal people. Every speaker has faced amazing challenges, and it has been my challenge to tell their story in a visual.
This year’s speaker is perhaps the most dynamic.
Her name is Liz Murray, and the massive challenges she overcame to create a positive life for herself. To hit the highlights of her achievement is almost insulting, because it almost trivializes the daily hell that she and her family lived in New York City.
Her autobiographical book, “Breaking Night” details in frightening detail what it’s like to be a child of cocaine addicted parents, to be homeless, to be constantly hungry, to do whatever it takes to survive on the streets of the Bronx. She captures the sights, the sounds and the smells of her childhood with incredible clarity.
My personal view is that every high school student should read it.
As a result, the art this year is simpler and bolder than years past. Pictured by the portrait of Murray are the snapshot taken of her mother when she was a teenager, her father and the Narcotics Anonymous coin with the Serenity Prayer. Both mother and father died of AIDS, she age 41 and he age 60.
It was the snapshot of her mother and the NA coin that she kept with her constantly when she left the family apartment.
The art gets auctioned at the luncheon to go for scholarships, and I hope Liz gets a copy of the art as a reminder of her visit to Omaha.