BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A Middletown mural aimed at honoring Black lives lost at the hands of police was recently vandalized with spray paint.
The mural sits in downtown Middletown across the street from the Pendleton Arts Center. Now, thanks to a vandal, it sits below the word ‘All.’
Local Black Lives Matter organizers say, rather than cleaning up the damage, they’ve chosen to incorporate it into the piece.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a gut punch, says Middletown resident Darren Davis Jr.
“I would ask, ‘Why would anybody do something like that?’” Davis said. “It’s very unnecessary.”
Davis says the vandalism left him disheartened but not shocked. That’s why he and other members of the Middletown Black Lives Matter group painted the mural in the first place, to educate their community about the movement. They felt it was a peaceful platform to commemorate the life of George Floyd.
“These are the faces of innocent young Black people whose lives have been taken,” he said. “We will always and forever remember them, and we’re still fighting the fight of racial injustice.”
The reappropriation of the vandalism is meant to turn something offensive into something positive.
“We said, ‘Ok, we still have word to do. We’re going to put more handprints up here. We’re going to put ore faces up here,'” Davis said. “So in essence the whole wall will be painted.”
Davis’s message for the vandal?
“We’re going to get more creative, and in fact you’ve inspired us to do more work, so we thank you,” he said.
It remains unclear who caused the damage.
Davis says he plans on getting Middletown police involved so it doesn’t happen again.