MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Maplewood Township unveiled a new Black Lives Matter street mural on Springfield Ave in front of the Maplewood Police and Court Building today.
Mayor Frank McGehee and members of the Township Committee had a small celebration in Maplecrest Park, with speakers and performers to commemorate the new sign. Each person spoke to the meaning of the mural and what actions they believe need to follow.
“Systemic racism and ignorance exist in all facets of our lives,” said McGehee. “In our community we have great police officers, black and white, who support Black Lives Matter.”
Mia White, a member of the SOMA Justice leadership team, spoke on behalf of SOMA Justice. She called for everyone present to remember to remain committed to the Black Lives Matter movement even after it is no longer trendy and cool.
“The course of actual change is not flashy,” said White, adding that you can’t post your commitment to justice on social media.
This message was echoed by Jordan Muhammad, a founding member of the MAPSO Youth Coalition, who talked to the crowd about political, economic and social change.
“I urge you to follow through this performance with action,” said Muhammad. “Tell us that black lives matter, but also show us.”
Two speakers were from the Maplewood Arts Council’s Black Lives Matter Poetry Project. Brenda Pressley, who performed a poem by an MMS 7th grader titled “Upon the Concept of Diversity,” and Hareem Jones performed his own poem “When Doves Come to Tears.”
It is the second Black Lives Matter street mural for the town. The first was painted on Valley Street in July.
After the program ended the crowd walked down the block to the location of the new mural that is painted in block yellow letters beginning at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Burnet Avenue.