GRESHAM, Ore. -- A group of students on Friday turned the scene of a deadly hate crime in Gresham into the backdrop for a new mural.

The painting features a large tree and people holding different colored hearts.

"I think pictures definitely speak louder than the words," said Bryn Lerma, a senior at Sam Barlow High School and chair of the Gresham Youth Advisory Committee.

Lerma proposed the mural to promote diversity, unity and to honor 19-year-old Larnell Bruce and his family. In August, Bruce was run down and killed by a couple driving a Jeep outside the 7-Eleven on Northeast 188th Avenue and East Burnside Street.

Larnell Bruce
Larnell Bruce

Police arrested Russell Courtier and Colleen Hunt for what investigators deemed a hate crime. Both were charged with murder.

"You can turn your face or close your eyes and say it's not happening here and then that's what allows it to happen," said Mustafah Finney with New Avenues for Youth, one of several nonprofit groups who helped organize the project.

Portland artist Brook Stein designed the mural to give those who see it hope.

"The tree kind of represents everybody coming together as one to grow and overcome," said Stein.