A mural in Ottowa, Canada painted in honour of Sandra Bland was found defaced with the slogan “All Lives Matter” on Tuesday, according to CBC News.
The mural was commissioned by the Black Lives Matter movement in honour of Bland, a black woman who was arrested for assault in Texas on July 10th after failing to signal, then found dead of an apparent suicide three days later.
The mural of Bland had a white mustache drawn on it, with the words, “All Lives Matter” scrawled across the mural in white paint.
The mural was created Monday on a common wall that is sanctioned for public art in Ottawa.
The alleged vandalism was widely criticised by locals. Cassandra Dickie with Ottowa’s House of Paint told CBC News, “The reaction by everyone I know and I’m in contact with — and I know almost everyone in the city that writes graffiti — was absolute outrage.”
The Canadian news website says the mural has since been restored.
The phrase, “All Lives Matter” has been a type of counterargument used by people who take issue with the Black Lives Matter movement. Some have attempted to use the phrase as a way to collectivize the movement — emphasising that no one life carries greater value than another. Politicians have used it — including Democratic presidential candidate, Martin O’Malley.
The former Maryland governor was rebuked for countering Black Lives Matter activists who interrupted his speech at the Netroots Nation event earlier this month.
What’s wrong with saying “All Lives Matter?”
Black Lives Matter activists say replacing “Black” with “All” minimizes the movement, which is meant to bring attention to the deaths of black men, women and children who have died as a result of alleged police brutality. They say it’s also supposed to bring attention to the scourge of systemic racism.
It has been noted by some scholars, think tanks — and most notably, the Justice Department — that these deaths were, in some cases, but not all, a direct result of police discrimination.
For activists, the term “Black Lives Matter” is not a call for special treatment. It’s a means for black people to reclaim their humanity and personhood in the midst of seemingly unending attacks on their right to simply be human.
You need look no further than something like last month’s mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which 9 black church parishoners were gunned down during Bible study — a tragedy perpetrated by a gunman who harbored a deep hatred of black people — to understand that sentiment.
The goal for Black Lives Matter activists is to convey, simply, that black people should be allowed to live without having to justify their existence.
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