A group of Black Lives Matter supporters from Chestertown and around the region came together at Fountain Park on Saturday to discuss “Black Lives Matter” and “We Can’t Breathe” murals headed for a vote of the Town Council on Monday, Aug. 10 at 7:30.
The crowd, which included organizers, discussed how they could help move the mural projects forward.
Maria Wood, one of the mural organizers, said she has been in many rooms of white people who ask how to include the Black community in Chestertown.
“I believe that Chestertown really does want to have one unified community where everyone feels welcome,” Wood said. “But I’m telling you that is not what we have, and this [mural] process has made that harder with all of the obstacles we have gone through.”
“My question to you, is do you really want to help? Or do you say that to pacify us,” said Wanda Boyer, another mural organizer.
It has been over a month since the mural was proposed.
“We feel so segregated, and it’s just ridiculous,” Boyer, said speaking of the Black community in Chestertown. “Whenever there is something going on, it’s like we are forgotten about. We just want people to know that we are a part of the community as well. We are concentrated in that particular area — we need help.”
It was expressed that there are no factors of downtown Chestertown that welcome Black residents. The mural can change that.
“This is a reflection of the values we support to hold in Chestertown. [Painting the murals] is clearly the right thing to do,” Wood said.
Barbara Jorgenson, a local attorney, said that there are not many legal issues present with this project. She said to avoid the potential of other groups proposing murals — and issue that council members have discussed — the town council needs to adopt “Black Lives Matter” as a government speech for the town.
Other cities in Maryland have already painted similar murals on their streets, including Easton and Cambridge.
“It’s 2020. It’s time to be in,” said Aretha Dorsey, a volunteer speaker at the meeting. “It’s time for my grandchildren and son to be able to walk and feel like they are somebody.”
“The Black community? We can’t breathe. We just want to be a part of it. And it’s the elected officials that can help,” Boyer said.