Community Awareness of BLM
Artifact #2: Black Lives Matter Mural: Worcester, MA
Artifact #3: Defaced George Floyd Mural: Stoneham, MA
Alejandra Obregon, Student, Fitchburg State University
Thousands and thousands of people around the world came together and got very creative in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement after a video surfaced of George Floyd being murdered by the Minneapolis Police. The Black Lives Matter movement was already controversial, but the support towards the movement spiked after the killing of George Floyd. Police brutality has always been a topic, but after George Floyd was killed, it really triggered people to stand up for those whose voices were not being heard. People all over the United States protested to fight for the rights of Black people and people of color. Some peaceful protests ended well and others ended in police tear-gassing, shooting rubber bullets, and more Black people being brutally abused and murdered. No Black person deserves to deal with the racial inequalities and injustices that occur up until this day. The color of someone’s skin should not determine whether they are a good or bad person. Being Black should not be a threat. Being Black should not be the reason to fear for your life. Black people wake up every day hoping to live another day just because of the color of their skin. This should never be the case.
Each of my catalog entries has an important significance when it comes to the Black Lives Matter Movement and supporting Black people. People all over the world made signs and painted murals to stand in solidarity towards Black people. Each of my artifacts relate to one another because they were all made around the same. When the creators and artists of the artifacts were asked why they created these artifacts, their answers were similar which was to stand for Black lives and support them in every step of the way. The 254-foot “Black Lives Matter” billboard that was placed outside of Fenway Park was placed as a representation of the team's dedication to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management decided that the most effective way for their organization to effect change in 2020 will be to direct their efforts internally, within their own organization, with a renewed focus on social justice, equity, and inclusion on and off the field. The Red Sox are one of the many organizations that showed their support towards the Black Lives Matter Movement. In an article written by Gareth Davies, he states “Celebrities, corporations, music labels and sports stars vowed not to post on their accounts on what is being called Blackout Tuesday following the death of George Floyd… Organizers said they wanted Tuesday to be a ‘a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community’ through "an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change," (Davies). People wanted to show their respect and support towards Black people while also educating others on what is going on in the world.
The “Black Lives Matter” mural in Worcester had an amazing message to it. The fact that each of the letters has a different painting and has its own significant meaning is extremely creative and eye-catching. Not only was it a mural stating “Black Lives Matter”, but each letter has a story as to why it is there. 500 people volunteering and coming together to sketch and paint this mural shows that people actually care and want to see a change. Worcester City Councilor Sean M. Rose states, “This artistic expression, this mural, is a symbol of just that, of people coming together in solidarity to support anti-racism, and coming together as a community and recognizing that all lives matter, for sure, but Black lives are in danger right now" (Barnes). As a tribute to George Floyd and in solidarity with Black people, many people have created murals and placed signs up. Police brutality around the United States has prompted debates about racial injustices and inequalities that happen in this day in age. Black people have been fighting for their basic rights for a very long time and that should have ended a long time ago. It should not be a problem that Black people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Artists also created a twenty-foot-wide mural to commemorate George Floyd, steps from the very spot that George Floyd took his last breath. “Why did you feel so strongly about creating this mural? ‘I was incredibly angry that I was watching another man die at the hand of law enforcement. We've seen this so many times. We needed to-- to take action’” (O’Donnell). The mural was made in memory of George Floyd, for people to mourn his death and show their respects.
The mural that was spray-painted of George Floyd in Stoneham, MA was also painted to commemorate him. Historically, graffiti has been a source of expression for urban communities. Graffiti gives people a visual aspect of the value of Black lives. Unfortunately, the mural was defaced and had a completely different message to whoever destroyed it. Instead of paying respect and support to Black lives and George Floyd, whoever destroyed the mural made it very clear that there is still hate in this world. Racism still exists and it will not go away anytime soon if there are still people out there with hate in their hearts towards Black people and people of color. These types of things are very common to occur because not everyone is going to support Black people. A church in Maryland put up a Black Lives Matter sign and it was taken down as well. In an article written by Perry Stein, he stated, “... a woman took down the sign because she disagreed with the motto… Police say the woman indicated that she vandalized the sign because she instead supported the mantras ‘All Lives Matter,’ or ‘Blue Lives Matter,’” (Stein). People indicating that “all lives matter” clearly do not see the bigger picture. In my previous catalog entry, I included an article that specifically spoke about those who continuously state that “all lives matter” when Black lives are the ones in danger. In the article written by Chris Simkins he mentions what Nkechi Taifa, an activist had to say about this specific saying, ‘“It is not to say that all lives do not matter. What it means is that specific attention at this period, at this time, needs to be placed on people who are most adversely impacted by the laws and policies that are going on,’ she said,” (Simkins). Yes, we know that all lives matter, but all lives matter does not make sense until Black lives do. If all lives mattered, people would not have to fight for Black lives and equality.
These artifacts show that the community does make an effort to spread awareness towards Black lives. There are still people out there who do not support the Black Lives Matter movement and they make it very known. Those who are not Black or a person of color deserve to be educated on the importance of Black Lives Matter and to value other lives other than their own. A lot of people stand by the statement that “racism is taught.” Racism is definitely taught because kids follow their parent’s footsteps whether they are good ones or bad ones. If children are born into racism, they are most likely going to be racist and the ones to blame are their parents or whoever raised them. In an article written by Amalia Dache, she states what her focus was while trying to educate others on her cultural background. “This rooting of a racial bone memory aligns with Black Lives Matter (BLM)'s tenet of globalism, which elevates a solidarity between all people of African descent on the continent of Africa and in the diaspora” (Dache). In the article, she breaks down the barriers between neighborhood and classroom, teachers and students, and engages in dialectics focused on the literal and figurative streets that occur in her area. These are things people should talk about more often, especially wherever there are big audiences so that people of all ages understand racial injustices and inequalities that happen.
The overall gesture and point of emphasis of the Black Lives Matter organization is a good cause, but it is embarrassing that in 2021 we need rallies and protests for simple human qualities such as human rights and other freedoms that all people should be entitled to. The idea that Black people have to wake up and fear simply due to the color of their skin is heart-wrenching. Today, the KKK and other white supremacist organizations are not as vocal as they were in the Civil Rights Movement, but phrases such as “Blue Lives Matter,” “Make America Great Again,” and patriotism towards the Confederate flag are all ways to degrade Black Lives Matter. People around the world are still doing everything in their power to fight for justice and equality for Black people. Seeing the news about police brutality and police not knowing how to de-escalate situations with Black people shows that they are afraid and look at Black people as a threat. People should not be dealt with differently because of the color of their skin. The system has a long way to go and it starts with the community coming together.
Barnes, George. “Black Lives Matter Mural Painted on Worcester Street.” Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 15 July 2020,
Dache, Amalia. “Teaching a Transnational Ethic of Black Lives Matter: An AfroCubana Americana’s Theory of ‘Calle.’” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), vol. 32, no. 9, Jan. 2019, pp. 1094–1107. EBSCOhost,
http://web.a.ebscohost.com.fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=aa5 2d0c6-0139-4b6d-93cf-c7b5f7c6468b%40sdc-v-sessmgr03&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3 QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=EJ1229305&db=eric.
Davies, Gareth. "Blackout Tuesday: What is it-and why were people posting black squares on Instagram? Celebrities, corporations, music labels and sports stars vowed not to post on social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement; Celebrities, corporations, music labels and sports stars vowed not to post on social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement." Telegraph Online 3 June 2020: NA. Business Insights: Essentials.
O'Donnell, Norah. "Artists Create Twenty-Foot-Wide Mural to Commemorate George Floyd." CQ Roll Call, New York, 2020. ProQuest,
https://fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.fitchburgstate.idm. oclc.org/other-sources/artists-create-twenty-foot-wide-mural-commemorate/docview/24100 24974/se-2?accountid=10896.
Simkins, Chris. "'Black Lives Matter' Movement Seeks Reforms to End Police Brutality." Federal Information & News Dispatch, LLC, Washington, 2015. ProQuest,
Stein, Perry. "A Maryland Church's 'Black Lives Matter' Sign is Defaced ... again: The Suspect Said She Thinks 'all Lives Matter'." WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post, 2015. ProQuest,
https://fitchburgstate.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.fitchburgstate.idm. oclc.org/blogs-podcasts-websites/maryland-churchs-black-lives-matter-sign-is/docview/17 50694793/se-2?accountid=10896.