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A Tale Of Two Black Lives Matter Murals — One About To Be Removed

The organizers behind a mural painted Sunday in Springfield's historic Court Square are asking Mayor Domenic Sarno to let it stay there. He’s announced he plans to have it removed this weekend.

Without seeking a permit, a group of artists and volunteers painted "BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the brick walkway outside the historic Old First Church, stretching about 150 feet long.

It was never going to be permanent, said organizer Tiffany Allecia, especially not after a New England winter.

“If you look at the [murals] in D.C. and other areas, they’ve only been up for a month or so and they're already fading,” Allecia said.

In a statement, Sarno said he and the mural organizers came to a "mutual agreement" this week, that it would be removed from the bricks because "proper procedures" weren't followed. 

But Allecia said she never agreed to the removal, and she deliberately didn't get a permit to paint it.

“We did not specifically [get a permit] for this because it was a protest, and we wanted the community to come together and express themselves,” Allecia said.

Several Springfield City Council members have proposed and received private funding (including a donation from the mayor) for another Black Lives Matter mural, which is expected to be painted in September. 

That's a nice idea, Allecia said, but it would be better if elected officials used their positions to make real, systemic change in the community.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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