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'Black Lives Matter' mural coming to Indiana Avenue

Indiana Avenue.JPG
Posted at 10:48 PM, Jul 17, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis will soon join the growing list of cities with major streets that carry the words, 'Black Lives Matter.'

It's a sign of solidarity we've seen across the country since the death of George Floyd. The future mural on Indiana Avenue is something local advocates have been working on for a while. The location was intentionally chosen.

Indiana Avenue will soon look a little different when the words 'Black Lives Matter' are painted on the historic stretch of road, a once-prominent area for Black-owned businesses in the city's early days.

"Indiana Avenue historically was a Black area, where Black people gathered, that had bars and clubs and businesses that we dedicated to Black people," Leah Derray, of Indy10 Black Lives Matter, said.

Somewhere near the Madam Walker Legacy Center and the headquarters of the Indianapolis Urban League will be a mural of the words 'Black Lives Matter' along with the faces of people killed by police in Indianapolis. The plan was approved by the city-county council this week but members of Indy10 have been working on the concept and planning for several weeks.

"We wanted to be part of this specifically to make sure that it was brought down to a local level," Derray said. "That the names that were spoken weren't just George Floyd, weren't just Mike Brown, names that are very important, but it was also brought down to Christopher Goodlowe, Dreasjon Reed, McHale Rose, Elenore Northington."

The members of Indy10 said protesting in the streets isn't the only thing they do. Their goal is to show why Black lives matter and why there is a need for systemic change. You'll see them do that as they work to elevate Black artists and performers from Indy, creating a paid opportunity for Black artists to paint the mural and Black performers who will be on stage at the block party for the mural's unveiling.

"So this really is a way for us to center Black joy and to make sure that we are sustaining our community as we're seeking to do it," Jessica Louise, of Indy10 Black Lives Matter, said.

While the mural could be considered a step toward progress, the members of Indy10 Black Lives Matter said there is still plenty of work ahead.

"Because we are getting a mural painted in the street does not mean that we stop fighting for justice," Derray said. "We still have demands, we still need systemic change, we still need for the police to be defunded, and we still need the autopsy report for Dreasjon Reed to be released and we need for the officers to be brought to justice."

Indy10 Black Lives Matter will host a block party as the last letters are painted on Indiana Avenue on Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests of the block party will be asked to remain socially distant.