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Children’s mural honoring Black Lives Matter in Brooklyn defaced by vandals

The damage done to the mural. (Courtesy Brooklyn Arts for Kids)

Vandals used spray-paint to deface a children’s mural aimed at honoring the Black Lives Matter movement in Windsor Terrace — devastating the young Brooklynites, who were heartbroken to see their message of unity destroyed, according to the educator who helped coordinate the piece.

“They were hurt that somebody would directly deface their work knowing it was children,” said Belinda Blum, a co-director of Brooklyn Arts for Kids. “Even though they had talked about that this could happen, they were hurt that it did happen kind of soon, and that it wasn’t just scribble scrabble, they directly defaced a message of love and unity and diversity.”

The good-for-nothing graffiti artists covered the words “Black Lives Matter” in purple paint, and scribbled over another section of the mural that depicts the clasping of two hands — one black and one white.

The mural, which the group of children between the ages of 5 and 13 painted below an underpass on Prospect Avenue, was the product of weeks of work, according to the educators. The finalized mural spells out the word “community” with each letter housed in a miniature painting contributed by different groups of youngsters.

The 24 young Picassos had complete creative freedom, and came up with all the images in the mural themselves, the educators said.

“It was a beautiful experience to see these kids take ownership of their creation and to feel the excitement of what it means to give to one’s community,” said Blum. 

Windsor Terrace locals often cheered on the artists while they worked, and the director of a nearby community garden even donated flowers. 

“The community, as we were making it, was so responsive with positivity for the kids,” said Blum.

The mural before the vandalism. (Courtesy Brooklyn Arts for Kids)

The directors of Brooklyn Arts for Kids say they plan on restoring the mural in a way that acknowledges the vandalism, rather than simply covering it up.

“It was clear that they weren’t just interested in painting it over like it didn’t happen. They were interested in responding in some creative way so that it was almost like a dialogue,” said Blum. “One suggestion was to turn the black paint into a rainbow.” 

The vandalism — which the program directors pointed out occurred during the  Republican National Convention on Aug. 25 — reminds the group that, while Windsor Terrace may be a left-leaning neighborhood on the surface, not everyone shares the same liberal beliefs. 

“Brooklyn may have a reputation, but the actuality is that we have Trump-supporting racists,” said program co-director Wally Wallach. “We have work to do.”

This story first appeared on our sister publication brooklynpaper.com

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