NY town rejects BLM mural, activists say it’s ‘a slap in the face’

An all-white committee declined to see the value in creating Black Lives Matter art with municipal dollars

The Catskill, NY Board of Trustees have voted down a proposal to paint a Black Lives Matter mural.

The committee consisting of five white members received a proposal from the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition, proposing “Black Lives Matter” be painted across Main Street. The proposal was denied on June 30.

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Black residents currently make up by over a fifth of the Catskill’s population. The town’s African American community says that the city is censoring their public protest by not allowing them to create the mural. 

According to the New York Times, Catskill city leaders offered several alternatives after electing to not display “Black Lives Matter” across Main Street. One of their counter-proposals would allow for the painting to still happen on Walter Street. A sub-community with more Black residents.

A man dances on a massive “Black Lives Matter” mural covers a city street on June 29, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the block of Fulton Street between Marcy and Brooklyn avenues. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Member of the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition, Shirley Cross, told the New York Times, “I knew it was going to be a no. I just feel like it’s a slap in the face for Black people.”

The #BlackLivesMatter movement was started by three Black women (Alicia Garza, Opel Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors). This movement centers Black lives because Black lives are lost most to police brutality and experience many other severe racial inequalities. 

According to the Catskill Housing Authority, nearly 70 percent of residents in public housing are people of color. The American conundrum that Black lives matter enough to pay state taxes but not enough to be supported in diverse parts of the city is a direct example of why #BlackLivesMatter exists.

READ MORE: White couple paints over Black Lives Matter street mural

The organizers rejected the Walter Street location and rejected the trustees’ offer to place two large banners saying “Black Lives Matter.” With their offer, the banners would be strung across Main Street and alongside New York State Route 9W. 

According to the New York Times, the village is still determining whether to move forward with their alternative solution.

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