(Flickr/Robert Fairchild)

Sandra Bland memorial defaced with "All Lives Matter" graffiti

After first destroying "Black Lives Matter" mural, Bland's memorial becomes latest target for silencing chant


Sophia Tesfaye
July 29, 2015 1:20AM (UTC)

The All Lives Matter countermovement has metastasized. The attempt to quash attention to the plight of African-Americans has repeatedly reared its head in ugly ways meant to silence activists and diminish the voices of those speaking out against injustice. This time, All Lives Matter bullies decided to deface a mural memorializing Sandra Bland.

Two Canadian artists recently erected memorial for the 28-year-old woman who died in a Texas jail cell after being arrested and held on $5,000 bail for "assaulting a police officer," a charge she faced for refusing to exit her vehicle during a traffic stop. Bland's tribute was defaced with a moustache and the words "All Lives Matter" within 24 hours of it's creation. In fact, the mural on a public wall designated for such art in Ottawa was actually meant to replace another mural that had recently been defaced. That mural read, "Black Lives Matter":

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The group, BlakCollectiv, commissioned the memorial and artists Allan Andre and Kalkidan Assefa explained to CBC that their original mural was not appreciated by many graffiti artists in the area. "My understanding is there was a certain sense of [territory] with this wall," Assefa explained:

ATTENTION:Around 1:30 a.m. the #SandraBland mural created by Allan Andr and Kalkidan Assefa with initiative from...

Posted by Black Lives Matter - Ottawa Coalition on Monday, July 27, 2015

The artists and activists vowed to protect the artwork and the message that black lives matter. Carling Miller, who told the CBC she saw two men pacing near the wall before chasing them away and calling them cowards.

"I was — I still am — I was livid when I initially came on it, and I expressed my displeasure to the men who were pacing back and forth and kept sort of watching us from afar," Miller said.

"It's something bigger than I am and it's also something that directly affects me as a black woman, and I just feel protective over it and the people who did it, and her spirit. So it was incredibly painful to see that that is the response that the mural got, that it wasn't just covered over, that someone intentionally was trying to destroy [the mural] and hurt the people who created the mural. And I think it was a blatant attack on black folks just in general."

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Within hours, Bland's memorial was restored:

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Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Activism All Lives Matter Black Lives Matter Race Sandra Bland

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