Ypsilanti residents invited to help paint Black Lives Matter mural on downtown street
Ypsilanti area residents are invited to help paint a Black Lives Matter mural on South Washington Street in downtown Ypsilanti between Michigan Avenue and Ferris Street and to attend a June 17 celebration with the unveiling of the mural.
Trische ‘Duckworth and Trevor Stone spearhead the project and work closely with the Ypsilanti Art Commission on the mural. The city council approved the mural project at its regular meeting on February 16.
âWe want this mural to become a venue for repeat programming throughout the year, carried out in pursuit of what Black Lives Matter really means and how we can actually make change,â Stone says. “If it’s just painting in the street, then it’s a failure. We need everyone to contribute with their strength. We need people to come together and meet with politicians and police to discuss the issue. way to improve the lives of black people in Ypsilanti. “
Duckworth was the spearhead several events of Black Lives Matter in Southeast Michigan thanks to her Survivors speak organization, but says it supports the mural project simply as a member of the community, not as a Survivors Speak project. Likewise, Stone works for a company based in Ann Arbor. Non-profit company at work (NEW) but also gives his time as a member of the community and not as a NEW employee.
Duckworth says she was inspired by similar murals in other cities, but it took several months of discussion with other interested community members to come up with a solid plan. Duckworth says the mural is just a step away and there is still work to be done. Through Survivors Speak, she is preparing to launch a campaign to end qualified immunity, a legal principle that makes it difficult to prosecute cases of police brutality.
âThe mural is just our way of saying that we are here, that we are not going away and that we are not going to bed,â says Duckworth. “We will continue to push for legislation to help free the lives of black people in Washtenaw County.”
Stone says he knows many âamazing and brilliantâ people who are working to make things better for the community, and calls Duckworth one of those âon the front linesâ.
âWe had conversations about the fall of colonialist monuments, but what are we putting back in place? These murals are a good start, âsays Stone. “It’s not just a painting. We’re making it a head office where people can come and work. I would love to see educational, social and civic events kicked off from this site.”
Crystal Harding, a teacher with the Ypsilanti Community High School Choir, was recruited to help raise funds for the project, in part to honor the students she teaches.
âThey aren’t seen enough and their black lives really matter,â says Harding. Her students will be shown singing in a thank you video made for the mural painting volunteers, she said.
Community members of high school age or older are invited to participate in the painting of the mural on June 5. If the work is not completed that day, the project will end the following day. The mural will be officially unveiled at a June 17 celebration from noon to 3 p.m. on June 19. The event will feature local DJs and musical artists including Johnny Lawrence and Athena Johnson and Friends.
Those with questions or want to inquire about donating funds for wall supplies can contact Duckworth at [email protected].
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti township and project manager for On the Ypsilanti field. She joined Focus as a news editor in early 2017 and occasionally contributes to other Broadcast media group publications. You can reach her at [email protected].
Image courtesy of Trische ‘Duckworth.