CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article quoted Council Member Barbara Foushee as opposing only the location the Town of Carrboro's Race and Equity logo. However, Council Member Foushee opposes both the location of the logo and the location of the mural itself. This article has been updated to reflect the changes. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
A Black Lives Matter mural will be coming to Carrboro after being approved at an Oct. 6 Carrboro Town Council meeting.
The council originally planned to paint the phrase “End Racism Now” on Laurel Avenue, but they are waiting on approval from the Federal Highway Administration. This process will take a few months.
The project has been in the works for a few months and was first proposed by Sekou Keita in July, after he was inspired by Black Lives Matter murals in other cities, such as D.C. and Raleigh.
The concept for Carrboro's mural was inspired by a trip to Greensboro, where he saw the way art had brought the community together.
“We live in such a small area and the presence of minorities is not as vast, and I don’t want anyone to feel overlooked, including people who look like me,” Keita said.
He said his overall goal was to bring a sense of unity, and he wanted to be a voice in the nation.
The mural will be painted by local artists on the CommunityWorx building. The council also voted to put a mural of the Town of Carrboro's Race and Equity logo on the back of the Carrboro Town Hall that will say “Carrboro Facing Race, Embracing Equity.”
The resolution to approve the mural and the racial equity logo was approved by a vote of 5-1, with council member Barbara Foushee voting against.
Foushee said she voted against the resolution because of both the proposed location of the mural and of the Town of Carrboro's Race and Equity logo.
"There was no way that I, as a Black person, knowing the history through the civil rights movement of folks having to ride on the back of the bus and be in the back of movie theaters and buildings — sometimes not allowed to be anywhere — that I could not put my name with that vote to have it on the backside of any building,” Foushee said.
Foushee said the council must hold the message “Black Lives Matter” in extremely high regard and be careful about its presentation. She said if the Town is working toward dismantling systemic and institutional racism, it has to be clear about the meaning and value of projects like these.
At the meeting, Carrboro Town Council member Damon Seils said he believes the mural locations will allow lots of people in the community to engage with them.
"It’s a way of people coming together and coming around some cool ideas," he said.
Outside of the mural, the Carrboro Town Council is working on other projects to achieve racial equity in the Town. On Oct. 9, 2018, the then Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted to become a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity.
Foushee said the Town is almost finished with training and has a core team that has been working with a larger GARE cohort in North Carolina.
She also said Carrboro is entering into a collaborative effort with Orange County, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill to work on a larger racial equity plan.
“I think that it will help level the playing field and provide for better outcomes for all our community members,” Foushee said.
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