Ravonda "Pinky" Jacobs had a dream to one day paint a mural over graffiti sketched along the brick wall of a bridge underpass on George Street.
As a little girl, she wanted to paint rainbows and hearts in an effort to make the world around her beautiful.
Now, as an adult, she has a similar dream but one that is more far-reaching. Jacobs wants people from across the city to take part in painting a mural with connected puzzle pieces along both sides of the underpass.
"It's always something that's been in my heart that I felt would be something beautiful to help change how people feel about their environment," she said. "I see this bridge as symbolic of bridging the gap between our communities, connecting our hearts and giving us all something that we can work on and be a part of together."
The bridge is in the north end of the city, historically one of the most impoverished areas of Goldsboro. Plans are in the works to start painting the underpass every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., starting Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day weekend.
Jacobs hopes the project will add a positive community experience during the summer months, when crime rates typically increase. She also views the project as a way to connect people from different backgrounds from across the city.
"The main thing is to bring different facets of people together to work on one project to show that we can do something together," she said. "We believe that once we see what we can accomplish together, with our resources that we pull together, it will inspire us to do more together."
The project is being spearheaded by a community arts council of the Alkebulan Village, a grassroots organization that works to bring positive changes in the community.
The community arts council meets every Sunday at 5 p.m., at Pinky's Hair Palace, at 301 A Street, which is adjacent to the bridge. Anyone interested in helping with the project and the planning process is invited to attend.
The group is also asking for people, groups and organizations to participate in painting a piece of the mural.
"We're looking at 400 different pieces of this puzzle under this bridge," Jacobs said. "Everybody's got a piece, and it can't be whole without a piece."
The puzzle pieces will be painted in different primary colors -- blue, red, yellow and green -- along the underpass. Each piece will include an inspirational word, which represents what each painter wants to contribute to make the community better.
The names of individuals, groups or organizations will not be included.
"It's not about your name," Jacobs said. "It's about the spirit of who you are and what you want to give. We want to use powerful words and we want each piece that someone puts on the mural to represent what they want to give to their community, what they have to offer.
"We want something symbolic of hope."
The group also has plans for the side of the overpass, along A Street. A tree mural, with 6,000 handprints for leaves, is planned, which represents the connection everyone has to each other. Anyone involved in the mural can add their initials to the handprints, Jacobs said.
"That's our family tree," she said. "We're putting our hands on the tree to show we're all connected, we're all family and we're all going to work together for something powerful to grow in our community to change things."
Jacobs, who presented the mural idea to the Goldsboro City Council recently, said she believes the project is a way to bring people together in a community where many are searching for ways to build unity and collaboration.
"Everyone in this city has been praying for peace, been praying for unity, been praying for things to happen . . .," she said. "This city can be a model for the rest of the world of how we really come together and promote true community unity.
"We just want this event to be something for everybody in Wayne County."
The group is currently working with local companies to secure donated paint supplies. Donations toward the effort are also being accepted. Jacobs is also working with the N.C. Department of Transportation on the project.
During the painting weekends, block parties will be held with an open stage, vendors and volunteer work in surrounding neighborhoods. Sundays will be set aside as interfaith days, with people being able to sing or speak on the stage.
Jacobs is interested in expanding the program to other parts of the city to continue building relationships and helping people in need.
For more information about the mural project, call (919) 221-5839, (919) 731-3801 or (919) 587-7175.