Many cities across the country are displaying “Black Lives Matter” murals, but one city has done away with its mural after a Trump supporter asked to paint “MAGA 2020” on the same street.
Redwood City, California, resident Dan Pease got permission from city officials to paint the “Black Lives Matter” mural as part of a Fourth of July public art installation. The city even gave him paint to do the project.
“Because we were using the poster board paint that would eventually deteriorate over time, my understanding from them was that the mural would last as long as the paint lasted,” Pease told KPIX.
But last Thursday, the city covered the sign after being contacted by real estate attorney Maria Rutenburg, who said that if the street was considered to be a public forum, she wanted a mural of her own reading, “MAGA 2020.”
“I saw ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign appearing on Broadway Street on the asphalt and I figured that’s gonna be a new public space, open for discussion, and I wanted to get my message out, too.” Rutenburg said.
“MAGA” is short for President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The city, wanting to avoid a potential political or legal fight, decided that Pease’s sign was a traffic hazard and quietly removed it in the middle of the night.
Pease said he does not consider “Black Lives Matter” to be political, but he understood where the city was coming from.
While some cities are taking down “Black Lives Matter” murals, others are going through great lengths to keep them in place. In New York City, the “Black Lives Matter” mural on Fifth Avenue was vandalized multiple times in the same weekend, and the city went through great lengths to clean it up.
In Chicago, a “Black Lives Matter” mural was painted over to read “All Lives Matter,” leaving activists fuming and cleanup crews rushing to the site to restore the mural.