PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new mural in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood calls to “End Racism Now.” But some Black Lives Matter supporters are calling the mural a publicity stunt.
The words “End Racism Now” are still on Girard and Montgomery Avenues in Fishtown in big, bold yellow lettering. That’s despite fire crews unsuccessfully blasting the message off the street on Tuesday night.
From above in Chopper 3, you can actually see some asphalt in the letter. The pastor behind it says he rushed to get a city permit to make it permanent, but that didn’t happen.
“I just wish we got the paperwork on time and have done and follow proper procedures,” Pastor John Brice said.
Brice, of Olney, says he got the idea on Monday.
“We said let’s be bold and let’s write ‘end racism now,'” Brice said.
But supporters of Black Lives Matter say they have issue with the mural.
“Racism isn’t going to be ended anytime soon,” Elizabeth Mulvenna said. “It should read, ‘Black Lives Matter.'”
“Black people are being murdered by the police in the middle of the street on video, that’s why it has to say ‘Black Lives Matter,'” Josh Miller said.
Why not include Black Lives Matter?
“It was truly our intention,” Brice said. “Monday night, we just had thought about this and said listen, let’s jump down, let’s have a grassroots effort, we’re not focused on political parties. I’m not worried about making phone calls, which is why I originally got in trouble. I think that Black Lives Matter Philly and us, we echo some of the same sentiments and share some of the same values that we want to address. So I think moving forward, yes I shouldn’t make impulsive decisions and I should take time. But right there, right then and there, I woke up and said let’s run with this so we can make a bold statement.”
Still, some point out “End Racism Now,” which were placed just outside of the Philadelphia Police 26th District’s headquarters and without the support of the Black Lives Matter Philly chapter, served more as a photo op than activism.
“It did not feel genuine in any way,” Miller said.
What does Brice say to those who feel it was a publicity stunt?
“I’m a pastor and I’m called to peacemaking,” Brice said.
City officials say the wording is here to stay.