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Photo courtesy of Peggy Pianalto
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By BWSTimes Staff
TULSA, Okla. — A Black Lives Matter mural on historic Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa’s Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street, has been vandalized with blue paint.
According to locals, the vandalism occurred sometime around midnight yesterday.
The street mural remains a subject of controversy, as the City of Tulsa initially made plans to have the message removed from its city street after a pro-police group proposed they be allowed to paint “Back the Blue”.
District 5 city councilor Cass Fahler raised the pro-police group’s proposal in a city council meeting a few weeks ago.
Dr. Pastor Turner of the Historic Vernon AME Chapel Church says it’s no coincidence that blue paint was used during a hate crime. “I actually think it’s insulting to the police that these criminals used blue paint. Because by doing so, they are essentially saying that the Blue Lives Matter movement is antithetical to Black lives,” Turner said.
This act is a clear example of the much-needed work that lies ahead for Tulsa related to racial healing. Greenwood is sacred land and should be revered as such. The individuals who committed this disgusting act send a clear message to our community that Black Lives don’t matter. We will continue to stand for what is right and condemn all acts of hate directed toward the Black community,” Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, founder of the Terence Crutcher Foundation, said.
“The defacing of the Black Lives Matter mural on Greenwood is a stark reminder of how far our city still has to go on the issue of race, despite what some would claim,” local activist and entrepreneur Tyrance Billingsley said.
After questions were raised concerning the legality of how the mural came about and its continued existence, District 6 city councilor Connie Dotson proposed the mural be removed.
However, efforts to have the Black Lives Matter mural removed are currently halted after Black city leaders, including the Greenwood Chamber President, spoke in opposition to the city’s removal plans.
District 1 city councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper and District 4 city councilor Kara Joy KcKee are actively seeking plans to make the mural a permanent fixture.