5 Upstanders Featured in the Cincy Upstander Project

Share on Social Media

Through generous funding from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and creative support from the AGAR agency, the CINCY #UPSTANDERPROJECT aims to inspire our community to become upstanders through a city-wide art campaign, monthly programs, museum tours, giveaways, and training opportunities.

From West Chester to Over-the-Rhine, you’ll find compelling, interactive designs that help you understand what it means to be an upstander. Take your photo in front of one of the murals, and tell us why you’re a #cincyupstander, and we’ll enter to you to win giveaways from the museum and community partners.


Here are six upstanders featured in the murals around town:

Kick Lee, arts and music advocate

KICK LEE IS A MUSIC PRODUCER, CINCINNATI NATIVE AND ADVOCATE of the music arts and independent artists. He is the founder of the Cincinnati Music Accelerator, which builds entrepreneurs through the art of music while simultaneously working to put an end to starving artists.

Kick has worked in music for more than 16 years and had his musical works licensed and placed in advertisements with brands such as Disney, Toyota, Samsung, Puma and many others. He is a People’s Liberty 2017 project grant recipient, graduate of Full Sail University and of Elementz Hip Hop Youth Arts center. In addition to the Cincinnati Music Accelerator, he operates KL Studios Inc. which specializes in audio recording, audio production, post production and music licensing for TV, film, trailers and commercials.

Kick is featured as an upstander in the Humanity Gallery at Union Terminal. Find murals of Kick near Findlay Market and on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.


Edith Carter (nee Knopflmacher) was born in a small town in Deutschhause, Czechoslovakia on December 17, 1914. Edith and her family, the only Jews in the town, had not experienced any issues with antisemitism until the rise of Nazism. Edith’s parents, Otto and Olga, decided to move the family to the town of  Olmutz, which had a larger Jewish community. While in Olmutz, Edith met a young man named Ernst Karter, whom she married in 1937. After the Munich Pact of 1938, which ceded the Sudentenland to Germany, tensions and acts of antisemitism rose in Czechoslovakia. Edith and Ernst wanted to leave, but were unable to because of the German occupation of the remainder of Czechoslovavkia in March 1939. Edith and Ernst were deported to Theresienstadt (Terezin) in 1942. On May 15, Edith and Ernst were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of the plan to fool the Red Cross. After being tattooed as prisoner A-3908, Edith was assigned to hard labor moving bricks. She never gave up hope that somehow she and Ernst would survive and be reunited. The last time Edith saw her husband was on July 1 when he was selected with 1,000 other men for a labor detail. Edith remained in Auschwitz until she was sent to two other camps including Stutthof and Koch.

In January 1945, Edith and other prisoners were forced to evacuate the camp on a death march because of the advancing Soviet Army. The snow was so bad, the women were forced into a barn where they were guarded for six weeks with very little warmth or food. Forced to march again, Edith and five other women managed to escape and hide in a ditch. A farmhand found them, housed them in a pigsty, and brought them food. When the Russians arrived to the area, Edith and her friends were finally free. After the war, Edith was cared for by Polish Catholic nuns for several weeks before being sent to a repatriation camp. Making her way back to Olmutz, Edith hoped to be reunited with her family and husband, but was soon told none had survived. In 1948, she left Czechoslovakia and came to Cincinnati, where she married Gustav Carter, Ernst’s cousin. Gustav had lost his wife during the war, but his two daughters, Janine and Ruth, had survived. Together they became a family and in 1951, Edith and Gustav had a daughter, Deborah. Edith died in 2010 at the age of 96.

Edith is featured in the Holocaust Gallery in Union Terminal, and her well-known quote is prominently displayed at the exit of the museum. You can find her mural in West Chester.

Shakila Ahmad, Muslim and interfaith leader

Shakila T Ahmad is an enthusiastic community leader who has dedicated herself to numerous civic and community causes, building peace and understanding for 25 years. She most recently served 5 years as Chair and President of the Board at the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC), being the first woman to serve in this capacity at such an institution across the country. She simultaneously has had a professional career and serves as the director of management at the Allergy & Asthma Specialty Center.

She is a dedicated supporter of interfaith and outreach efforts, and has served as board chair of BRIDGES for a Just Community (old NCCJ) and subsequent human relations work under BRIDGES of Faith Trialogue. Though her groundbreaking work began pre 9/11, she stepped up these efforts through law enforcement cultural competency and being instrumental in working to set up an FBI MultiCultural Advisory Task Force to better serve needs of minority communities in their relationship with the FBI.

She was recognized at the national level with the FBI Community Leadership award in DC by then FBI director Robert Mueller. She has continued this peace and understanding building work in the face of many challenging environments. She currently serves on the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) composed of national leaders focusing on strengthening hate crimes legislation and celebrating the contribution of Jewish and Muslim Americans while building understanding.

Shakila is featured as an upstander in the Humanity Gallery at Union Terminal. You can find her featured in a mural near the Taste of Belgium in Over-the-Rhine.

Rabbi Joshua Abraham Heschel

Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Jewish American rabbi, scholar and philosopher who was very active in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Considered “one of the truly great men” of his day and a “great prophet” by Martin Luther King, Jr., Heschel articulated to many Jewish Americans and African Americans the notion that they had A RESPONSIBILITY FOR EACH OTHER’S LIBERATION AND FOR THE PLIGHT OF ALL SUFFERING FELLOW HUMANS AROUND THE WORLD.

Rabbi Joshua Abraham Heschel is featured in the Humanity Gallery at Union Terminal. You can see his mural in Clifton Heights.

Fannie Lou Hamer, voting rights activist

Fannie Lou Townsend Hamer rose from humble beginnings in the Mississippi Delta to become ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT, PASSIONATE, AND POWERFUL VOICES OF THE CIVIL AND VOTING RIGHTS MOVEMENTS and a leader in the efforts for greater economic opportunities for African Americans.

She was the co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Fannie Lou Hamer is featured as an upstander within the Humanity Gallery at Union Terminal. See her featured in a mural on the side of Silk Road Textiles in College Hill.


Through generous funding from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation and creative support from the AGAR agency, the CINCY #UPSTANDERPROJECT aims to inspire our community to become upstanders through a city-wide art campaign, monthly programs, museum tours, giveaways, and training opportunities.