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'Black Lives Matter' mural in Downtown Indianapolis defaced

Posted at 10:14 AM, Aug 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-09 21:03:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The "Black Lives Matter" mural that was painted by local artists in Downtown Indianapolis has been defaced.

The mural, which is located on Indiana Avenue between the Madam Walker Legacy Center and the headquarters of the Indianapolis Urban League, was painted Aug. 1.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the vandalism, which occurred overnight. IMPD did not provide any additional information.

Rebecca Robinson, one of the artists involved in painting the mural, said in a Facebook Live two buckets of paint appeared to have been used. White and gray paint was splattered on each of the letters.

"It's just awful," Robinson said. "It's just so disappointing because everybody worked so hard."

The Indianapolis City-County Council approved the mural in July, and Indy10 Black Lives Matter and other community groups organized a celebratory event on Aug. 1 for the mural's painting. Black artists, including Robinson, Alan Bacon, Deonna Craig, Ess McKee, Stacia Moon and Mali Simone Jeffers, were chosen to paint inside each letter of the mural on the road.

Along with the words "Black Lives Matter," the mural includes the names of Black Americans killed by police, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed and Michael Taylor.

The site of the mural on Indiana Avenue has special significance in Indianapolis as the avenue was the business and social hub for the city's Black residents for decades during the 20th century. Dozens of jazz clubs and shops lined the street until the 1960s.

Indy10 Black Lives Matter posted a statement Sunday morning on Facebook after the word began to spread about the mural's defacing.

"Black people, our people, are no strangers to disruptions of our joy, particularly joy that has been intentionally curated to center Blackness," the post said. "Just as our parents, elders, and ancestors persisted among burning crosses on their front lawns, so shall we. We will continue to hold safe, sacred space for all those who understand the pressing necessity with which we labor for Black lives."

"Black Lives Matter" murals have been painted on major city streets across the country since Floyd's death on May 25 in Minneapolis. Some murals, including those in Orlando and New York, have been defaced, according to the Associated Press.

"We will paint over it, whatever we have to do," Ashley Robinson, with Ashley Nora Art, said. "The movement will not stop. I won't stop being. I'm fighting for my two daughters."

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