KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Kalamazoo was discovered vandalized Friday morning.
White paint was spread across several letters of the mural. News 8 found containers of the paint along the side of the road.
The mural was a community project approved by the city that brought together artists and volunteers from Kalamazoo and West Michigan.
It was painted and completed on June 19, spanning from South Rose Street between West South Street and West Lovell Street.
The organizers say they were inspired by the mural painted near the White House.
Mural artist Darien Burress came to see the damage after hearing the news.
“I’m hurt, angry and sad. But we’ve been hurt, angry, and sad. This isn’t a new thing,” Burress said.
She spent hours painting a portion of the mural in the heat and says she is not surprised the project was targeted.
“This is an ongoing battle in which black people have been oppressed in which racism has thrived and it’s systemic. It’s not just the people around us. It’s the systems in place,” Burress said.
Aerick Burton and Quinton Bryant came to watch the mural be painted and also returned to see the damage.
“That day it was nothing but unity and love and they don’t like that. That says a lot about them,” Bryant said.
Burton says while the mural is a good gesture, he does not see real change.
“I feel like things have died down a little since they made the mural and I don’t think that’s right. We need policy change. We need law changes. We need representation,” Burton said.
As police investigate, some feel catching the vandals is not what is important.
“My concern is not with the mural necessarily so much as the actual physical change occurring in the United States and within our community,” Burress said.
Anyone with information is asked to call KDPS at 269.337.8139 or Silent Observer at 269.343.2100.