Community members are invited to repaint the vandalized Black Lives Matter (BLM) mural at Riverside Park in Ypsilanti at 8 a.m. on Oct. 16.
Community activists created two BLM murals in the city this spring and summer, one on the path through Riverside Park and another on South Washington Street
. White paint splatters and a red stencil reading "Patriot Front U.S." were found obscuring the Riverside Park mural on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 19.
Trische' Duckworth, a community activist who helped coordinate the painting of both murals, says she made a report to the police about the vandalism that same day, but she hasn't heard any updates and no one has been charged.
Duckworth says many people have a strong reaction to the BLM slogan, but mostly because "they don't understand."
"We're lifting up Black lives," she says. "Even with that mural, it's not just a cosmetic statement. It's a reminder of the work we continue to need to do."
She says the mural was a constant reminder all summer to those who passed through the park for jazz concerts and school field trips.
"It's a constant reminder, and I think it happened because somebody doesn't want that reminder," Duckworth says. "But it's okay, because we'll put it back up each and every time."
Soon after the vandalism incident, community members began planning a day for repainting the mural.
"I don't have any words for the people who did this, but if I did, I'd say thank you," Duckworth says. "Thank you for a time to come together as a community and heal, to stand tougher in solidarity and in love, and continue to fight for racial equality."
Team captains have been chosen for each letter of the mural, and community members who would like to help can show up at the park on that morning or pre-register here
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Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vandalism photo courtesy of Ypsi BLM Street Mural Project Facebook page.