Volunteers paint BLM mural on Main Street in Burlington

BLM painted on Main Street in downtown Burlington
Published: Jul. 19, 2020 at 11:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 11:37 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Downtown Burlington turned into a canvas Sunday afternoon. Just six days after the Burlington City Council unanimously approved painting ‘Black Lives Matter’ right outside City Hall, hundreds of people came together to get it done.

Putting paint to pavement, volunteers taking part on Sunday said it was to reaffirm the three words that have been echoed throughout the country in a call to end racial injustice.

Volunteers paint BLM mural in front of City Hall in Burlington Sunday.
Volunteers paint BLM mural in front of City Hall in Burlington Sunday.(Courtesy: SammyDepth Photography)

“I think it’s important, said Socrates Cruz, from Goshen. “It should be in every city; small towns, big towns.”

“They’re made very conscious every time they drive over this street that it’s not just a black thing,” said Kendra Miller of Burlington. “It’s something that everyone needs to think about.”

Three-hundred people came together to create the Queen City’s new street art. The bright orange, 20-foot letters are visible to those who drive down Main Street, past City Hall.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said he hopes it serves as a reminder of the realities of systemic racism, specifically the racial disparities in health care exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Here in Vermont, we know Black Vermonters make up only about 1% of the population, but 10% of the infections. I hope this Black Lives Matter mural will cause people to think about that and ask why and even more so, ask what they can do to be part of the solution,” said Weinberger, D-Burlington.

Drone's-eye view of BLM mural in Burlington.
Drone's-eye view of BLM mural in Burlington.(Courtesy: SammyDepth Photography)

Some Burlington residents say they hope the mural sparks conversation and education about housing discrimination, voter suppression, and mass incarceration.

“Even in Vermont we have one of the highest incarceration rates of African Americans in the country, yet we claim to be one of the most progressive,” said Burlington resident Tinda Adian.

Volunteers say the mural is a nice gesture, but it needs to be backed up with policy change and action. City leaders are vowing to make that a priority.

“I think that’s what this community is committed to doing, is really the deeper dig to understand, to look within ourselves and to do what we can to eradicate systemic racism,” said Burlington City Councilor Karen Paul, D-Ward 6.

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