A colorful Black Lives Matter mural was defaced this week, with vandals attempting to obscure “Black” with red, white and blue paint.
The 140-foot mural is on the side of a building in downtown Spokane, Washington — sponsored in part by Terrain, a local arts nonprofit. Terrain, along with digital advertising agencies 14Four and Seven2, hired 16 artists to decorate and paint each letter in Black Lives Matter, according to CNN affiliate KXLY.
To some, though, it was insulting. The mural, completed less than two weeks ago, was vandalized on Wednesday.
But the community isn’t letting the negative response hinder the effort. A fundraiser to restore the mural has already raised more than $10,000.
“It took dozens of people working with love to make this project happen, and only one or two filled with hate to deface it,” Terrain said in a statement posted to Facebook. “We outnumber them, but we can’t be still or silent.”
Artist Nicholas Sironka designed and painted the “A” in “Black” of the mural, a letter that received the brunt of the white paint. He wasn’t surprised the mural had been vandalized, he told CNN.
“I just feel that the whole Black Lives Matter now to me has more meaning, unity of purpose. Everybody is unified to one purpose and that is eradicating inequality and injustice and all those things put together,” he said.
Kiantha Duncan, vice president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, said she had a visceral reaction to seeing the photos.
“This is extremely scary,” Duncan said on local news station KHQ. “When the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ is enough to upset people in a city so badly that they, not only protest against it, but that they destroy the very words on the side of a building.”
Sgt. Terry Preuninger, a Spokane police spokesperson, told local outlet The Spokesman-Review the department had been made aware of the vandalism through media outlets but hadn’t confirmed whether a formal complaint was filed.
This isn’t the only BLM mural that has been defaced in recent weeks. In Spokane, a mural of George Floyd was defaced with white paint, though it has now been restored.
In Manhattan, the Black Lives Matter street mural outside Trump Tower has been defaced four times, despite just being completed on July 9.
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