On July 28th, 2020 the Berwyn Public Arts Initiative (BPAI) wrote a letter to the City of Berwyn asking for permission to install a “Black Lives Matter” street mural and within an hour the response from the City of Berwyn was a resounding “NO”.
The City’s official response was “In regards to the Black Lives Matter proposed mural, the City prefers to keep any political art installations off of City/public property. As per ordinance 1442.05, murals painted on brick will only be allowed in the Depot District. If there are any commercial/residential businesses in the Depot area that would like to install such a mural on their private property, please have the art mural application submitted to the building department to review.”
This is UNACCEPTABLE!
Black Lives Matter is not a political position. It is exactly what is says. Black Lives Matter. Our letter included, “Berwyn obviously has a complicated history of racial inequality, going back to a time when the City was considered a “Sun Down Town.” While remarkable progress has been made in recent years, I think we all recognize that there is more work to do. Having the City provide an endorsement for the installation of a Black Lives Matter street mural is an important first step. A mural may not change the past injustices of racial profiling and unfair housing practices, but it will offer an important symbolic gesture that Berwyn has become more welcoming and hospitable to diverse communities. It is important to recognize that we are a better and stronger community when we embrace racial equity.”
We are calling for black residents, allies and businesses in Berwyn, Oak Park, Cicero and Forest Park to stand with your Berwyn neighbors as we demand the City of Berwyn reverse this decision and fully support the installation of the Berwyn “Black Lives Matter” street mural.
We will be filling the gallery to capacity (capacity is 23 persons wearing masks and social distanced) at the City Council meeting and reading supporting letters into the record. We will also be holding a rally outside of City Hall calling for this change!
Please share this far and wide and we will see you Tuesday the 11th! More details to come.