On Sunday, community members gathered at Ypsilanti Riverside Park to repaint the Black Lives Matter mural, which was vandalized with white paint by a white supremacist hate group called the Patriot Front in September.
The 260-foot mural, initially dedicated in June after months of fundraising and logistics planning, spells out “Black Lives Matter” and runs along the park’s entrance walkway. Faded white footprints left by the vandalism were still visible along the street on Sunday morning, but the outlines of the original letters remained.
Jazmyn Bradford, volunteer coordinator for Survivors Speak, the community social justice organization that hosted the event, told the Michigan Daily that she felt optimistic after seeing the mural repainted following acts of vandalism .
âWe’re not letting that get us down – as you can see we’re still here,â Bradford said. âI’m so glad it’s about the same result as last time around. People still see the importance of this mural. It’s just grateful that the community can see it too.
Barney Judge, the lead designer of this mural, has been painting murals for 25 years. He told The Daily that he felt a purpose when he first answered the call from project organizers and described the challenges of the project.
âI thought to myself, how can you prepare ahead of time so that all these people who aren’t really experienced painters are done in one day? Said the judge. âSo here’s the idea for the stencil. We made stencils of all of these letters from Tyvek background, a tough material. “
The judge described the damage from the vandalism as an injury to the flesh. He said the task of repainting was much easier after the town of Ypsilanti cleaned up the white paint and the outline of the old fresco resurfaced.
Francis Baetz, an employee of Cultivate, a cafe and beer garden in Ypsilanti, said he heard about both the vandalism and the repaint event from their colleagues. Baetz said they decided to show up for the repaint on Sunday in solidarity with the community.
âI struggle a lot (with) to find out how I can be of help because I don’t have a lot of time or money to get involved in a tangible way,â Baetz said. âLooking for things like this with a little time to contribute could go a long way. “
Daily News contributor Chen Lyu can be reached at [email protected].