Activists are claiming that tire tracks across Nashville’s newest “Black Lives Matter” mural are signs of intentional vandalism. One set of tires left burnout marks across the bottom half of the letters.
According to reports, the organizers for painting the mural have reached out to Mayor John Cooper about the incident. The mayor’s office hasn’t issued any statements on the matter. None of the activists reported going to the police.
Organizers included Nashville Black Lives Matter member Grayce Gadson, local businessman John Smith, and local activist Brenda Ross. The mural was completed Saturday, at a reported cost of $20,000.
Some citizens agree with the organizers that the damage was intentional. They say it’s a clear act of racism.
“I think it’s sad that less than 24 hours could go by before racism showed its ugly face,” stated a passerby.
Many disagreed, saying it was likely just a driver being reckless or losing control on the rainy streets.
“Not defacing anything. Almost every street in Nashville has burnouts,” wrote one Facebook user. “Welcome to Tennessee. This isn’t news.”
A few individuals questioned the decision to paint a mural rather than investing money into Black-owned businesses or historically black higher education.
The Metro Arts Board of Commissioners approved the mural. The painting spans 350 feet along Woodland Avenue next to the Nissan Stadium. In a press conference, the organizers expressly linked the mural to the controversial organization, Black Lives Matter (BLM).
“Of course the letters will also carry the monochrome color of yellow as generally symbolic of the logo of Black Lives Matter over these past five years,” stated Gadson.
In an interview after completion of the mural, Gadson stated that it exemplifies the absence of Black individuals in downtown Nashville. She also stated that none of the buildings downtown are black-owned.
The permit for the mural expires in January, at which point the organizers must remove or reapply it.
On Monday, several groups informally announced their intentions to request “Make America Great Again” and “Blue Lives Matter” murals in Nashville.