UPDATE: No BLM Street Mural In St. Joseph; Students Unhappy

Aug 13, 2020

FILE
Credit Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

NEW:

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Officials in a southwestern Michigan city have turned down a request to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on a street near a high school. Commissioners in St. Joseph said they’re willing to work with students on other ways to promote the message. Supporters said a Black Lives Matter mural would send a welcoming message next door to Benton Harbor, which is 85% Black. Critics say it might lead to violence and cause traffic issues. Mayor Mike Garey says allowing the mural could force the city to honor other unrelated requests. Many students say St. Joseph officials shouldn't be afraid of upsetting people for a good cause.

ORIGINAL POST:

Black Lives Matter murals have been painted on streets across the country...and now one has been proposed for a street near the high school in St. Joseph, Michigan. Officials from the City are hearing mixed opinions from residents.

If approved by the St. Joseph City Commission, the mural would be painted on Stadium drive which is the entrance of St. Joseph High School.

The proposal comes from the same men who pushed for the Black Lives Matter mural that was recently painted in Benton Harbor.

City Mayor Mike Garey said about 60 people have called in to give their opinion about the mural, both for and against - but regardless of the mural, he said the City wants to find solutions to systemic racism.

“We as city leaders are looking at this issue very seriously," he said. "The commission is committed to the long term change for our community and we are working on several ideas of solutions to address this issue.”

Garey said the commission plans to hold a closed door session with the City attorney this Monday to discuss the legality of painting a mural on a public street.

He said he expects the commission to officially vote on the proposal in early September.

Contact Annacaroline at acaruso@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @AnnacarolineC16

If you appreciate this kind of journalism on your local NPR station, please support it by donating at:  https://wvpe.thankyou4caring.org/