Mural on Adam Clayton Powel Jr. Boulevard Proclaims it
It is appropriate that organizers chose Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard for Harlem’s BLACK LIVES MATTER street mural. Powell, New York’s first black congressman (1945-1971), fought tirelessly for the rights of Black people wherever he saw inequity and injustice–in Congress, in the world, and on the streets of Harlem, the global center of Black culture.
The mural stretches across Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. between 125th and 127th streets. NYS Sen. Brian A. Benjamin helped secure the use of both sides of the median, so the words BLACK LIVES MATTER read in both directions, heading north and south along the two blocks. A response in solidarity with protests ignited worldwide around the killing of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter street mural has come to signify a commitment to change led by the people and for the people.
On Friday, July 3, 2020 Sen. Benjamin, joined Harlem Park to Park Executive Director Nikoa Evans to kick off the street nural painting. Also in attendance were Borough President Gale Brewer, Attorney General Letitia James, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NAN Founder Rev. Al Sharpton, NAACP NY President Hazel Dukes, Assembly Member Inez Dickens, Assembly Member Al Taylor, Councilmember Bill Perkins, BOS Development’s Beatrice Sibblies, Sylvia’s Restaurant’s Tren`ness Woods-Black, Community Board 10 Chairperson Cicely Harris, and Exonerated 5 Member Korey Wise.
The Harlem street mural by Harlem Park to Park in partnership with Got To Stop Social Impact Agency features commissioned work by a selection of multigenerational and multidisciplinary Harlem artists who each have made equity for space and visibility part of their practice. Artists include Curator LeRone Wilson, Dianne Smith, Thomas Heath, Guy Stanley Philoche, Lesny Flex, Jason Wallace, Joyous Pierce, and Omo Misha. The artists’ work spans the north facing mural. Representatives of 16 community groups each painted one of the 16 letters on the south heading mural. Among the participants were: Boys & Girls Club of Harlem; Harlem Pride; Mama Foundation for the Arts/Sing Harlem; New York Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Delta GEMS; Got to Stop Social Impact Agency; Harlem Park to Park; Harlem Grown; and Jackie Robinson Foundation.