Wednesday, July 8th was another great day in our beloved Mecca, Harlem. Harlem Park to Park in partnership with Got to Stop LLC revealed and blessed the curated 8 artist creation of the Black Lives Matter Mural on the northbound side of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd from 125th to 127th Street. The community and community organizations painted the Red, Black and Green, Black Lives Matters on Southbound side of the meridian. There was an opening ceremony Friday, July 3rd attended by Harlem Public Officials, including our Congressman, Borough President, Reverend Al Sharpton among others, and even the Mayor came to Harlem for a guest appearance to commence the process of painting the Mural.
The commissioned 8 “Harlem” artist were each given two letters and submitted their Harlem Black Lives Matter concepts which was part of the process of choice. The 8 artist include the show’s curator LeRone Wilson,letter’s (BL), Jason Wallace (AC), Omo Misha (KL), Guy Stanley Philoche (IV) Lesny Felix (ES), Thomas Health(MA), Dianne Smith (TT) and Joyous Pierce (ER).
There is no progress without struggle. Through it all the artist and Harlem Park to Park in partnership with Got to Stop persevered and kept their eye on the prize in great faith and grace. On Saturday July 4th in the PM a group of 4,000 Bikers called Streetriders NYC emerged shouting Black Lives Matter, knocking down barriers, pushing and shoving Harlem Park to Park women organizers, intentionally riding over and destroying the Mural with NYPD nowhere in site, main stream media turning a blind eye and no prosecution to date. Harlem Park to Park has a meeting set today with Streetriders NYC.
The 8 artist, Harlem Park to Park, and the community dusted themselves off from this horrific incident; another demonstration of systemic racism, repaired the Mural and overcame in the true spirit of our ancestors all obstacles bringing us to yesterday’s grand reveal and blessing of The Harlem Black Lives Mural which took place with just a slight delay from the original Monday reveal date. The reveal and blessing opened with prayerful song by renowned Vy Higgensen’s Youth Choir. We then were graced with a panel discussion by the 8 artist sharing their concept, process, background and the holistic experience of creating this Harlem Black Lives Matter over 5 days. As Nikoa Evans – Hendricks, Executive Director of Harlem Park to Park stated, “this is project is 100 percent funded by us and this is our Love Letter to Harlem”. As Mural Artist, Omo Misha letters (KL), whose work focused on the children of the movement stated, “this was different than other murals I’ve done and it could not been done without the help of all of the volunteers and supporters who labored tirelessly in the heat of July to assist us – truly a community effort.” It takes a Village.
Public Officials Congressman Espaillat, Athena Moore, Chief of Staff of the Norther Manhattan Borough President’s Office and State Senator Brian Benjamin were in attendance among others. State Senator Brian Benjamin and Borough President Gale Brewer were responsible for assisting Harlem Park to Park in securing the necessary DOT clearance to Paint the Harlem Black Lives Matter Mural on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard from 125th to 127the Street. Senator Benjamin stated, ” he thought it was critical to have the “Black Lives Matter Mural” Project in Harlem if it was going to be anywhere and further stated he is hopeful the corridor will be permanent”.
Harlem and “Harlems” of the world and the whole world come and see, see and feel the healing and the significance of Harlem Black Lives Matters – virtually or in person and of course wear your mask and social distance. Keep Harlem Alive – Enjoy the view, the breath and depth of “Harlem Black Live Matter” guided by all those great ancestors that have gone before us; truly a tribute to all our ancestors. Kudos to the organizers, the artist and to our great Village of Harlem.