Greenburgh mural meant to celebrate Black history, BLM becomes symbol of hate to some
A mural meant to celebrate Black history and the Black Lives Matter movement has become a symbol of hate to some.
The controversy is centered on a painting of Louis Farrakhan, a polarizing figure who also organized the Million Man March on Washington in 1995.
He has also made numerous controversial statements against Jews and the LGBTQ+ community.
The mural is located underneath I-287 on Manhattan Avenue in the town of Greenburgh
The town board has decided to paint over the image of Farrakhan.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner says an image of Farrakhan was never part of the approved sketches.
He added that the town spent $100,000 in taxpayer money on the mural.
"It's not being paid for by private individuals, and we don't want to offend anyone in the town," he says.
Feiner says the decision to remove Farrakhan has been made and it should be painted over in the next week.
A spokesperson from the Westchester Jewish Council released the following statement:
“The Westchester Jewish Council welcomes the celebration of African Americans’ accomplishments through the Manhattan Avenue Mural Project. The inclusion of Louis Farrakhan, however, was wrong, hurtful and inappropriate. Farrakhan is one of the country’s most prominent antisemites, and his long and public history of anti-Jewish and other bigoted comments makes his inclusion in this project completely improper. We thank the Greenburgh Town Board for taking action and ordering Farrakhan’s depiction in the mural be painted over.”
The town board also released this statement:
An image of Louis Farrakhan on the mural was never approved by the town and will be removed.
Pursuant to the contract between the Town and the Artist, the mural design required approval by the Black Lives Matter Committee, its Manhattan Avenue Mural Subcommittee and the Town Board. While the artist’s interpretation of artistic expression was welcomed, the addition of Louis Farrakhan and several other people was never approved by the Town. The Black Lives Matter Manhattan Avenue Mural Subcommittee therefore voted to remove the unauthorized imagery. The Artist has agreed that Louis Farrakhan will be taken off of the mural and the image will be removed this week. Added content continues to require Town approval. We look forward to celebrating the completion of this mural, which is a celebration of Black history.
The Greenburgh Town Board continues to support the Town’s Black Lives Matter initiatives and commits to continuing support through the Black Lives Matter (signage) Committee, the Greenburgh Against Systemic Racism Task Force, the Human Rights Committee and other endeavors."
The Greenburgh Town Board stands united against racism, antisemitism, sexism and anti LBGTQ.
The Greenburgh Town Board does not believe in the censorship of artistic expression, and acknowledges protest as a valid form of political expression.