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Grant native raising money for college fund of artist of mural at middle school

In just a few days, they've already raised close to $5,000.

GRANT, Michigan — A mural at Grant Middle School continues to make headlines across the country. Now, the community is rallying around to support the artist.

Since 13 ON YOUR SIDE's original story first aired on Oct. 10, artist Evelyn Gonzales has received messages of support from around the country. People in her own town are showing support too, with some wanting to help her continue her art career beyond high school.

"I was appalled at the behavior of the adults at the meeting," says Megan Wirts, a Grant resident.

A lifelong Grant resident, she was hurt to hear how her town treated teenager Evelyn Gonzales over her mural in the middle school.

"If that were my child, what would I do?" wondered Wirts.

What she would do, is show support. And that's what she's doing for Gonzales, starting a GoFundMe to raise money for her college fund.

"I want to do everything I can to help make this a positive thing," she says.

And the support has been strong. In just a few days, they've already raised close to $5,000.

Wirts is also running as a write-in candidate for the Grant Public School Board, disappointed in the actions of the current members.

"Nobody on the board stopped it from happening or spoke up for those kids," says Wirts. "I want to be one of those people that will speak up for them."

Pointing out Gonzales was not the only one hurt by words spoken at the meeting, but other LGBTQ+ students that were in the audience.

"They had to hear those words, they had to hear that they needed their brains fixed," says Wirts. "They had to hear that they are, you know, abominations and things like that. It's despicable."

In the end, she wants to make Grant a better town for everyone.

"I hope that people won't see Grant as that redneck town north of Grand Rapids and instead will see it as a place where everybody belongs," says Wirts.

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