Local Politics

Fayetteville mayor: City still committed to racial equity, despite BLM mural removal

Posted January 13, 2021 5:48 p.m. EST
Updated January 13, 2021 5:52 p.m. EST

— The words "Black Lives Do Matter" and "End Racism Now" are gone from around the Market House, sparking outrage from some residents.

The embattled Fayetteville Market House in the center of the city is once again the center of controversy.

Many residents were surprised on Monday when crews started removing the words "Black Lives Do Matter" and "End Racism Now."

"The issue is that, there was no discussion with the community in regards to the removal of that wording," said Fayetteville resident Brian Ness. "I think the community was kind of caught off-guard."

'I'm shocked:' Fayetteville citizens upset to see Black Lives Matter mural removed with no warning

Fayetteville resident Maria Larsen said the removal couldn't have come at a worse time.

"Just for the simple fact that Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is coming, Black History Month is coming," she said. "I feel like they could have timed it a little bit better if they were going to try and remove it, or replace it with anything else."

Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin agreed that it might not have been the best time to have the words removed but took issue that no one knew it was going to happen at the beginning of the year.

The words were put at the Market House after it was burned during the summer and a group camped at its base for a week demanding change in policing after the death of George Floyd.

"I feel like if they city council and the mayor were really listening to the community and the public, they would have had that discourse with the community to remove the wording and possibly replace it" said Ness.

Colvin said while the words may be gone, the city commitment to what they stood for remains strong.

"For not only Black Lives Matter, but for the people who believe in racial equality and justice and inclusion, which the city council says that's important to use. We need to give them a venue and a place in an area that is permanent and sustainable," said Colvin.

"I'll be looking at examples in Washington, D.C., where they allocated a certain area called the Black Lives Matter Plaza. Atlanta has a certain designated area that's not in the center of traffic and has a lot more sustainability," he added.

Colvin did not give a timeframe for when that could appear in Fayetteville. He also asked residents to put their differences aside while city council goes through the options.

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