By Stephanie Lin
SACRAMENTO, California (KCRA) — Sacramento police are looking for whoever vandalized a Black Lives Matter mural in Sacramento this week.
“It was just devastating,” said Keith Riedell, managing director of Capital Stage theater company. “It is an affront. An assault to social justice, to people of color.”
Capital Stage commissioned local artist Leon Willis to paint the Black Lives Matter mural on the front of their J Street building in April.
“I’m mad, I’m angry, frustrated,” Willis said. “I think people feel threatened — there is an attempt to rewrite the narrative that’s been out there so long.”
Riedell said someone dumped black and yellow paint across the mural.
“It’s another reminder that as much as we can put the murals out here, the hate still exists in this world,” he added.
Members of the neighborhood are speaking up.
“The message of Black Lives Matter for me, as a Black woman — it’s just nice to know that’s in my neighborhood,” said one resident who did not wish to be identified. “To see [vandalism] happen, it’s just a violation. A violation of the fact I know I belong here.”
“With what’s happened the past year, and this year, who would do that? It makes no sense,” said Crystal Melgoza, who works across the street. “It shows you don’t know what’s going on. You’re careless, you’re disrespectful. It’s sickening.”
Volunteers told KCRA 3 it took them eight hours to scrub out most of the damage, but portions of the paint remain on the wall and on the ground.
Willis said despite the vandalism, he’s touched by the show of support from the community.
“My message for the vandals is, ‘Thank You,'” he said. “I feel very loved by my own community for standing up for me.”
Anyone interested in supporting the mural restoration efforts may connect with Willis through social media.
Sacramento police say they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
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