Updated: Black Lives Matter Supporters Call on Mayor and Council to Support Mural Project

Due to the need to wear masks, viewers should turn the volume up to hear the speakers in the video, as the masks do inhibit sound.

Black Lives Matter supporters descended on High Street today in favor of a mural permit that might not have the support of the Chestertown Council to move forward.

The proposed mural submitted with the permit request would run from an area in front of Stam Hall to Cross Street and read “Black Lives Matter.”

The updated proposal came out of negotiations between Ward 2 Councilman Tom Herz and residents downtown, some in the 100 Block of High Street, who opposed the original plans.  One proposal would have run the mural from Water Street to Cross Street, and another would run the mural from Queen Street to Cross Street.

But recently, Herz’s support for the mural became uncertain when the drawings indicated that the mural would not begin right at Lawyers Row and extend to Cross Street only.

In a brief phone call today, Herz said the final permit drawing submitted “was not what I agreed to in good faith” with the [Social Action Committee for Racial Justice] and the permit requesters. He said he would only agree to a mural that was between the crosswalks at Lawyers Row and Cross Street. Herz said what he agreed to came out of negotiations with residents in the 100 block of High Street and others.

Herz said he was meeting with the town’s attorney, Stewart Barroll, ahead of the council meeting tonight and that he may be reluctant to support the mural if passage would result in serious legal challenges to the town.

Maria Wood, one of the permit requesters, said they would scale the mural to run between Lawyers Row and Cross Street if that’s what was needed to secure the approval of the council.

“We’re willing to negotiate it,” she said.

6 comments

  1. Lawyers’ Row to Cross Street is an excellent compromise and should be unanimously adopted by the Town Council tonight.
    If the drawing submitted does not comport with this compromise, then take out a Sharpie, change the drawing, initial it, and use it as the agreed exhibit. This important community project should not be defeated for want of a drawing or the threat of a few to sue. It’s easy and cheap for the naysayers to file a law suit, but harder for them to win it and to pay for it–facts of which town counsel Stewart Barroll is well aware and (hopefully) will advise Herz.
    I call upon Tom Herz, in whose district I live and pay taxes, and each of the other three town council members to stand up for what’s right. Vote yes tonight.

  2. I concur with Ms. Jorgenson wholeheartedly. Mr. Herz’s dissembling and failure to wholeheartedly support this initiative is disappointing to say the least. Just who does he represent in Ward 2. Not me for sure.

  3. I am disappointed that Mr. Herz’s support of the mural hinges on the fact that the residents of the 100 block of High Street do not want the mural in front of their homes, many of which were likely built with slave labor. With the delayed council vote, we now have more time to contact our representatives again.

  4. Not all residents who live in the 100 block of High Street oppose the BLM Street mural, so who are these residents of the block who Tom Herz refers to?

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