Painting our future: Belén Haro designs mural to impact greater community

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Photo credit: Olivia Hallinan-Gan

Boy Scout Belén Haro (’26) works on her mural of the six women who are or have been on the Supreme Court. She is creating this mural for her Eagle Project, which aims to influence her Boy Scout and school community. 

By Olivia Hallinan-Gan, Staff Reporter

What started as an Eagle Project for Boy Scouts stretched beyond the traditional requirements by expanding to freshmen Belén Haro’s school community. For her Eagle Project, Haro is creating a mural, which will eventually become part of Archer, of the current and former women Supreme Court justices.

An Eagle Project is a leadership opportunity for members of Boy Scouts of America to design a project that in some way will influence their own Boy Scout community. Haro is expanding her project to Archer’s campus in order to broaden the people she is able to impact.

Haro said she has learned the importance of influencing others through Boy Scouts and decided to create a mural reflecting her experiences. Haro is designing the mural, and her cousin Johnny Huerta will take the lead on painting it. Huerta is a Los Angeles-based professional artist, who started his career in high school, where he was able to express his passion for faith through art. The finished product will be displayed outside History teacher Emily Gray’s room.

Although they share similar names, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are two completely different organizations. Boy Scouts is a coed organization, while Girl Scouts is only for people who identify as girls. Specifically, Boy Scouts focuses on “prepare[ing] young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime” according to Boy Scouts of America. Haro first joined Boy Scouts in 2019 when girls were first allowed to join. She decided to apply after hearing her school friends talk about the “exciting adventures” they had been on.

“My best friends from elementary school had been in the program since Cub Scouts and convinced me to join by mentioning all the exciting adventures and activities done within the program,” Haro said. “Hearing about rocket launching, wood carving, hiking, laser tag and much much more convinced me.”

Haro previously had seen blood drives, painted benches and bake sales as Eagle Projects but wanted to make something that could last for generations. Walking around LA, she witnessed firsthand how impactful art is through different murals but realized how few women are featured in prominent portraits compared to male figures.

“If you go around Los Angeles, you see people from Kobe Bryant to Nipsey Hussle and a lot of sports male figures. As cool as that is, I think there’s like a lack of female representation within art,” Haro said.

If you go around Los Angeles, you see people from Kobe Bryant to Nipsey Hussle and a lot of sports male figures. As cool as that is, I think there’s like a lack of female representation within art”

— Belén Haro

Haro first found inspiration for her project after meeting Sonia Sotomayor at the signing of her book, “Just Ask.” Sotomayor is the first Latina on the Supreme Court. Haro said she found her true passion after meeting her and felt that designing a mural of the six women who previously served and currently serve as justices on the Supreme Court would do the same for others.

“After meeting her, I want[ed] to make something where others are inspired to pursue a law-based career,” Haro said. “By creating a mural of all six female Supreme Court justices, I think that maybe a girl or boy could relate to one of these empowering women and even decide to become an attorney.”

Haro does not just want to show the Supreme Court Justices in their classic roles sitting at a desk in black robes. She wants to showcase their true identity and passions underneath their role as judges. Justices in the mural will be wearing symbolic clothing and holding props relating to their passions. For example, Haro will include Elena Kagan, a current justice on the Supreme Court, wearing Harvard basketball shorts since she was the first female dean at Harvard and also played basketball as a kid.

Haro’s faculty mentor, history teacher Beth Gold, believes that the connection to identity Haro is including in her mural is what brings her message to light.

“One of the things I was really intrigued by was the thoughtfulness that Bélen had approached this project with. She was telling me all about symbolism that she was going to be using and the way she was representing each woman’s different distinctive background, their identity and their experiences with different symbols and images in the mural,” Gold said. “I think it’s going to have literal, symbolic and artistic meaning.”

Haro said that when children and young adults see some of the most powerful people in the United States were just like them at some point in their lives, it could significantly impact them. Her artist-cousin Huerta agrees this project is extremely influential as it will inspire younger generations.

“The idea was to inspire young women or any woman, for that matter,” Huerta said. “It’s something that I have a heart and a passion for as well. So whether it’s young women or young men that were able to inspire, I thought it was cool.”

Gold said that public art specifically showcasing women of color and women artists is very important in today’s world where, according to The National Museum of Women in the Arts, “45.8% of women make up visual artists in the US, and they only make 74 cents to the male dollar.” She said that having multiple perspectives is very important and adds to the depth of art.

“Her idea was to commemorate and memorialize the achievements that this group of diverse women accomplished by creating this mural in a very visual spot on campus. I think that it is an excellent reminder to girls here that they can achieve dreams and can use their voice all the way to the highest platform in our country, The Supreme Court,” Gold said. “There’s representation of women of color, and I think that is also a reminder to the community of how important multiple perspectives are and to honor each person.”