YPSILANTI, MI — Ypsilanti is now home to two street-sized Black Lives Matter murals – one in Depot Town and another downtown.
The murals, painted by volunteers, were organized by Trische Duckworth, executive director of the community organization Survivors Speak, along with Trevor Stone, community builder at Nonprofit Enterprise at Work.
The Ypsilanti City Council unanimously approved the painting of the streets in February. Groups of volunteers gathered the weekend of June 5 to paint the murals with supplies donated by Ace Hardware.
The downtown mural covers South Washington Street off of Michigan Avenue, and the other spreads across the entrance drive for Riverside Park in Depot Town. Both murals extend for about 260 feet and feature yellow-painted letters 18 feet tall.
The organizers were inspired by similar murals painted in cities across the country during the summer of 2020. Similar community-led efforts have yielded street murals in Michigan cities like Flint, Kalamazoo and Jackson.
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The murals come just two weeks before the first celebration of Juneteenth since council members voted to declare the date – a traditional celebration of the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Texas were notified of the abolition of slavery – as a city holiday.
The organizers are planning an official unveiling of the murals on June 19. Live music, a showcase of Black-owned businesses and vendors, as well as a drawing for a $500 reparations grant are planned at the downtown mural.
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