Harlem Park to Park kicked off the Black Lives Matter Harlem Street Mural project July 3rd with a star studded Press Conference including Reverend Al Sharpton introduced by Trannesse Woods-Black of Sylvia’s Restaurant and Harlem Park to Park, Attorney General Letitia James, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brian Benjamin, Assembly Members Inez Dickens, Reverend Al Taylor, NAACP President Hazel Dukes, The Honorable Keith Wright, Sade Lythcott, CEO of the National Black Theatre, daughter of the late founder Dr. Barbara Ann Teer and Corey Wise of The Exonerated Five who was introduced by Councilman Bill Perkins to mention a few. This was indeed a great day in Harlem. Renowned creator of “Mama I Want to Sing”, Vy Higginsen spoke and closed out the event with her incredible Gospel youth choir which was followed by a “surprise” guest appearance by Mayor Bill DeBlasio, himself who for the record provided no funding, city services or in-kind services for the project.
Harlem Park to Park and its affiliates put together 100% of the financing in partnership with Got to Stop Social Impact Agency taking the initiative to raise funds and solicit volunteers. With the help and advocacy of State Senator Brian Benjamin and Borough President Gale Brewer Harlem Park to Park was able to get permission from the the DOT to secure the location. ” It is important that the Harlem community understand that this project is a love letter to Harlem from Harlem. As a non-profit Harlem Park to Park felt very strongly that a Black Lives Matter Mural coming to Manhattan should be in Harlem; believing that this Black Lives Matter Mural will be the most photographed Mural”, said Harlem Park to Park Executive Director, Nikoa Evans Hendricks.
On Saturday July 4th in the PM a group called Streetriders NYC came with 4000 bikes and road over the newly beautifully painted mural deliberately destroying the mural that they believed was a city generated project chanting “Black Lives Matter” removing metal barricades, disrespectfully, aggressively pushing and shoving the Harlem Park to Park Members who were primarily women stating that they would not discuss this issue with women. This was a deliberate and egrecious act supposedly based on the fact Streetriders NYC thought the Harlem Black Lives Matter Project was funded by the Mayor. Why would Streetriders NYC feel entitled to perpetrate such an act of sacrilege in Harlem “the Black Mecca”, regardless of who funded the Project and have the gall and license to come to Harlem to attack and destroy a community driven Black Lives Matter Street Mural. The Streetriders NYC leaders were alleged to be Black and the 4,000 Riders by sight were primarily white?
Where was police intelligence and where were the NYC Police that should have protected the Harlem Black Lives Matter Street Mural and the Harlem Park to Park Members against 4,000 bikers who came with an intent and plan to destroy? Why would the bikers come to Harlem to destroy a community funded Mural chanting “Black Lives Matter” and why would they destroy any NYC Black Lives Matter Mural irregardless of the funder? The two other Black Lives Matter Street Murals in Manhattan which are City/Mayor funded and initiated are on 5th Avenue in front of Trump Tower and in front of the Supreme Court Building downtown adjacent to the African Burial Ground Site. A few bikers disbanded and apologized after the attack but the leadership of Streetriders NYC have yet to come fourth; no one has been prosecuted!
“AND STILL WE RISE” – Despite malicious bikers – Join Harlem Park to Park and the community, Wednesday, July 8th at 10 AM at 126th for a Blessing , Meet and Greet the Artist and the unveiling of The Harlem Black Lives Mural which stretches from 125th on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard to 127th on both sides of the median. The South Side Harlem Black Lives Matter Mural is Painted by Community Members and Organizations and the North Side is painted by 8 Harlem Artist; LeRone Wilson, Jason Wallace, Omo Misha, Guy Stanley Philoche, LeNY Felix, Thomas Health, Dian Smith and Joyous Pierce.