When Jessica Minor went to the Trimet MAX vigil Saturday, she wasn’t expecting to start a mural.
The tone was somber Saturday, May 27, as many gathered to remember the victims and people in Portland more appropriately, honoring them as local heroes.
Among all the elected officials, dignitaries, families, friends and community was Minor. She didn’t know the MAX vigil survivors or victims personally. But Minor, along with many others, felt a connection to a story that quickly resonated not only with people in Portland, but nationally and abroad as well.
Minor started a local feel-good campaign of sorts, affectionately dubbed, Project Hug. The goal is simple, hug one new person for the next 365 days as part of a pay-it-forward goodwill campaign.
The inspiration was a meandering, fleeting idea of sorts that started during a conversation Minor had with a friend.
“I am constantly being challenged, taught, and inspired by this project and the interactions I am having with people, mostly strangers," she said. 'To be succinct I guess my inspiration for this project was just a simple way to connect, spread love, hope and positivity with others,
'It was a small way I could try to help [put] out some light outwards, even if I struggle with darkness myself,' she said.
Minor says platforms like Instagram and social media help make it easier for the project to be accessible by anyone.
Project Hug began just before the New Year and Minor says it has taught her more about herself, strangers, and the logistics of hugging itself. Minor has said her hugs have made people’s day, and in more times than not, the feeling has been mutual.
As the services winded down Saturday, Minor had an overwhelming urge to draw on the walls of the Hollywood Max station transit stop. She had several small sticks of yellow chalk with her and just began to draw.
“I started by drawing the eye-level row of hearts on the black wall … then kids joined … then a few adults … then I hard to run to stores on foot finding more chalk,” Minor said.
After the artistic frenzy, Minor says she procured about 200 pieces that are now part of what contributed to the massive growing memorial.
the photo below was her 148th hug since she started the movement. It happened Sunday morning after she went to the gym adjacent the Hollywood MAX station bus corral.
Much like with this tragedy, perhaps Minor already said it best, even in overwhelming moments of darkness like this, the light continues to shine through.
You can follow Project Hug on Instagram @hugproject365 to get the latest updates on all the people Minor has hugged throughout the year.