A Black Lives Matter mural in suburban Chicago street was painted over earlier this week to read “All Lives Matter,” WLS-TV reported.
And activists were not pleased.
“If they cannot understand that all lives don’t matter until black lives matter, they did this out of hatred,” activist and mural organizer Cortlyn Kelly told the station.
Crews were working to clean the mural in the village of Oak Park Wednesday morning, WLS noted, and police are investigating.
What’s the background?
The mural was created over two days in June by about 20 volunteers, the station said, adding that the intent was to make it more colorful than other BLM murals around the country since June is Pride month.
Oak Park resident Cullen Benson approached the Oak Park Area Arts Council with the idea in the wake of George Floyd protests, WLS noted, adding that Benson said the mural “is a piece of history to influence generations to come.”
What else was said?
Camille Wilson White, Arts Council executive director, told the station that seeing the mural “vandalized, defaced this way, it’s shameful.”
“The village is a place of inclusion and to have someone come and destroy someone else’s work is disrespectful and disgusting,” resident Yolanda Taylor told WLS.
But fellow resident Greg Mayor noted to the station that “if all lives matter, then black lives matter — and why would that upset you other than if you have a different agenda … than all lives matter?”
Mural restored and activists rally
By Wednesday night the mural was restored and activists added chalk phrases and drawings to underscore the message, WLS said.
The Revolutionary Oak Park Youth Action League also organized a demonstration that attracted about 100 people and continued its call to defund and pull police from schools, the station said.
Ray Longstreet added to those who painted over the mural that “if you were brave enough to come out here and cover this up, you should be brave enough to come be a man and just tell us what you did.”
“If you hear Black Lives Matter and immediately your response is to say ‘All Lives Matter,’ [that] says a lot about how you perceive race,” Makayla Pye said, according to WLS.
Author: Dave Urbanski