Mural honoring prominent New Jersey transgender rights activist vandalized in Elizabeth
There is some outrage in Union County after a mural honoring a well-known LGBTQ+ activist born in New Jersey was vandalized in Elizabeth - and now there is an effort to restore it.
The mural depicts Marsha P. Johnson. Someone scribbled over the mural with red paint. It was created by three local artists last year and was painted under the New Jersey Turnpike overpass, where organizers hoped that many young children would see and be inspired by it.
Johnson was a well-known transgender activist who was prominent in the Stonewall Uprising in the late 1960s. She was born in Elizabeth.
The nonprofit group The People’s Committee of Elizabeth came together last year around this time as the Black Lives Matter movement was kicking off to have the mural painted.
Johnson died in 1992.
“Marsha P. Johnson is literally the embodiment of Elizabeth, in my opinion. There are so many women in Elizabeth who live Marsha’s life…We have to protect our Black trans women,” says organizer Priscilla Gaona. “A lot of us hold that rage in Elizabeth. Marsha’s legacy really teaches us how to execute the rage in a beautiful way.”
Organizers say that they were heartbroken and angry, but not surprised by the vandalism, which they say is an act of hate. They are now raising money to repaint the mural. The repainting will take place at this year’s Pride event and celebration, replacing a march.
Union County is working to create a monument of Marsha Johnson as well.