Art installation to memorialize victims of human trafficking in Lykins Park

Abby Hoover
Managing Editor


A permanent public art installation is in the works for Lykins Square Park memorializing victims of human trafficking. The memorial will consist of four lighted panels of painted Venetian glass created by artist Hasna Salam.
Salam got the idea for the installation about two years ago when her friend told her about Christine McDonald, a blind survivor of commercial sexual exploitation in Northeast, who now works to bring awareness through telling her story.


Salam hosted a luncheon to meet McDonald, who had sparked her interest as an artist, Nicole Gerken from HALO Foundation, Development Director Lindsay Hicks from Habitat for Humanity (HFH) and others.


“She’s a lovely, lovely person, very bubbly and full of life,” Salam said of McDonald. “When Lindsay told me that they’re doing this big revitalization project in the Lykins neighborhood, I got to thinking about it and I said, ‘you know, here is a local hero, right?’ Christine McDonald is a woman hero that, despite her blindness, she is still able to do social work and said she goes to different places and she talks to women about empowering them and things like that, and I said, ‘she needs a larger voice,’” Salam said.


McDonald opened Salam’s eyes to the issue of human trafficking, prompting her to begin research, where she was surprised by the magnitude of the “social disease.”


“It’s a pandemic that is growing, has been growing forever and ever, and United States is one of the highest consumers of human trafficking, and then I found out there is a whole hill in my city, it’s called Hooker Hill, and as an artist, as an architect, I felt like I needed to do something,” Salam said.


After hearing McDonald’s story, Salam was reminded of a project she worked on when she sat on the board for HFH in Topeka over a decade ago. At the time, she was working as an architect, and had designed a concrete and glass house for HFH, which she visited years later to find completely destroyed.


She set out to create something that would bring attention to this issue and help survivors tell their stories.


“If I can do something that brings attention to this issue and help women like Christine McDonald and [Veronica’s Voice founder] Kristy Childs who are doing profound work in their spheres to try and empower women, why can’t I do my part and use my knowledge, my expertise, to create something powerful that can create a larger conversation at a national level, at a global level?” Salam asked herself.


From her own experience and learning from research on urbanism, Salam believes that if neighborhood revitalization includes art, people will take better care of their communities.


“You have to give the people a sense of belonging,” Salam said.
Salam approached HFH of Kansas City last summer, wanting to again get involved after her time with HFH in Topeka.


“She originally contacted us about another project, then she heard about this thing that we’ve been a part of that’s called the Lykins Neighborhood Revitalization Project, and she’d been involved in anti-human trafficking efforts, and she wanted to do this art memorial for survivors and victims of human trafficking as part of the redesigning and redevelopment of the park and the neighborhood and whatnot,” said Jude Huntz, Outreach Manager at HFH.


Salam then met with McDonald again, who walked with her down Independence Avenue and through Lykins Square park, which both played a huge role in her past.


“I walked down those steps, I turned around and there was graffiti that said, ‘help me,’ ‘save me,’ ‘where is God?’” Salam said. “You know it was as if the voices of the unknown were calling out to me and it felt like they wanted representation, like they were saying to me, ‘help us.’”


Salam was determined to create a meaningful representation of the people who had passed through that park. She created a small model of the project to present to the Lykins Neighborhood Association board, which was met with strong support.


The project was funded through the generosity of community supporters and Salam, who is working pro bono. She was overwhelmed with gratitude by the financial support of her friends and others who saw the importance of her project, raising $10,000 in one afternoon. HFH acted as the fiscal agent for the project.


“We had to go through a lot of city approvals, so we started out with the Arts Commission because the Arts Commission would be ones who will receive the gift, and so they wanted the glass to be protected from weather and all sorts of things,” Huntz said. “We said we’ll provide whatever protection. So after they approved the project, we then went to the Parks Department and from there they sort of gave us a criteria in terms of what they needed in order for it to be according to their standards.”


The Lykins Neighborhood Revitalization project will be a mixed-use, mixed-income development for the neighborhood, creating between 75 and 100 new homes in the end.


“We’re part of a larger coalition of nonprofits and for profits that are going to be building new housing in the neighborhood,” Huntz said. “So we’re going to provide our standard houses, affordable housing, for families in there. And then I think there are a couple of six-plexes and whatnot that are going to be redone for affordable renting. And then there’s going to be some more market rate housing in the neighborhood, as well.”


HFH builds homes for families in need of shelter, but during this project will also be doing work for families in the neighborhood who need help with minor and cosmetic home repairs to avoid code violations through the home preservation program.


Though details are still being determined, the groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for October 24, 2020.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Osage sculpture recovered

    September 15th, 2021
    by

    GoFundMe effort to help cover restoration Michael Bushnell Publisher Under the cover of darkness on an early August night, thieves […]


    ‘Where the world collides’

    September 15th, 2021
    by

    Della Lamb prepares to welcome Afghan refugees Abby Hoover Managing Editor Like many refugee resettlement agencies, Della Lamb Community Services […]


    YOUTH R.I.S.E. motivates young Northeast soccer athletes

    September 15th, 2021
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The Youth R.I.S.E. soccer club is not only making a name for itself on the field, […]


    Sheffield Place debuts renovation, expands services for single mothers

    September 15th, 2021
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Sheffield Place, a rehabilitation center and home for single mothers and their children, unveiled its much […]


    Youth football field plagued by vandals

    September 15th, 2021
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor Over the past two months, the Missouri Wolverines have been the victim of vandalism with increasing […]


    Accident takes life of motorcyclist at Indep/Spruce

    September 13th, 2021
    by

    Just after 2am Sunday morning, KCPD officers responded to the area of Independence and Spruce on the report of a […]


    Shooting for a great cause

    September 11th, 2021
    by

    Over 200 shooters took part today in the 6th annual John b-mesh Memorial Scholarship Sporting Clays shoot held at powder […]


    Problem building burns again

    September 10th, 2021
    by

    Fire broke out this morning a little after 8 a.m. at an abandoned apartment building at 5208 Independence Avenue. Kansas […]


  • Lykins neighborhood searches for illegal dumpers

    September 9th, 2021
    by

    Lykins neighborhood leadership is searching for illegal dumpers who left trash in a vacant lot owned by the Lykins Neighborhood […]


    Gallery: Kansas City Museum Derby Party

    September 8th, 2021
    by

    Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below! Enter your email address and click on […]


    Man fatally shot at 19th and Vine Tuesday night

    September 8th, 2021
    by

    One man is dead following an overnight shooting near 19th and Vine Street. This morning at 10 minutes after midnight, […]


    Kansas City Museum debuts renovation at annual Derby Party

    September 8th, 2021
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The 2021 Derby Party at the Kansas City Museum, 3218 Gladstone Blvd., was a grand affair […]


    D.O. More United raises funds for Christine’s Place

    September 8th, 2021
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Christine’s Place and Relentless Pursuit are working to combat human trafficking along one of the city’s oldest […]


    Kansas City Public School’s Lincoln Prep to be featured in PBS documentary

    September 8th, 2021
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor In the heart of Kansas City sits “The Castle on the Hill,” an educational institution with […]


    Mayor announces KC Redistricting Commission

    September 7th, 2021
    by

    Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas today announced his appointments to Kansas City’s Redistricting Commission. The Commission will hold its first […]


    There’s a new sheriff in town and it doesn’t miss a thing

    September 2nd, 2021
    by

    Due to an ongoing spate of targeted vandalism at the Cricket Wireless store at 2633 Independence Blvd., the Independence Avenue […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Postcard

    Katz pays the tax

    September 15th, 2021
    by

  • Remember This?

    Remember this?

    September 15th, 2021
    by

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.