Black Lives Matter murals are en vogue, at least in urban areas across the country. Providence, Rhode Island is no different, but this time, the local Black Lives Matter chapter took offense that it was not asked to participate in the mural project.
On one of the streets next to Providence’s Kennedy Plaza, a mural with the words “All Black Lives Matter” is painted in white. One of the participants, Rodney Davis, said that it is part of a larger project and that several local artists are collaborating on it.
Davis claimed it will stir conversation and discourse, “People are going to be talking about it. People are going to be taking the bus and going ‘wow what is this?’” he told a local news outlet. “It will cause question and it will cause discourse, and discourse is OK. What we are trying to do is be decisive and not divisive. We want to see things grow,” he added.
The individual also repeated oft-used Black Lives Matter rhetoric when he said, “Black lives in our country are not valued. They do not matter to a great number of folks.”
However, the Black Lives Matter Rhode Island chapter said they were offended that they were not invited to participate in the mural project. Mark Fisher, an activist, said, “It’s a total slap in the face.” He added, “We want to work with everybody, we want to be inclusive. We want to work with every race, every creed, every ethnicity, especially our own.”
Fisher did not relent in his criticism and stated, “To have a Black Lives Matter mural slapped down in the middle of Kennedy Plaza, without us knowing anything about it, that goes against everything we are fighting for on the front lines.”
The effort is run by PVD Fest, a city-run art festival, and was delayed by a paint shortage. It will be a temporary display of up to a couple of years.