Remove the "Bock The Bluf" Mural in Downtown Tampa

Remove the "Bock The Bluf" Mural in Downtown Tampa

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Mergeculture Gallery started this petition to Mayor Jane Castor and

A call for change in cities across the country has developed out of the murder of Goerge Floyd of Minneapolis who had a knee on his neck for eight minutes and forty six seconds by a police officer. 

Since the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, cities have erupted in protests demanding attention on 500 years of systemic racism in America. One statement to bring attention to this issue was the painting of Black Lives Matter on streets throughout America, making a statement for cities to look into their communities and examine the many ways improvements can be made. Tampa joined the many cities with the support of Mayor Castor on June 27th, 2020.

Overnight on August 2nd 2020, a group of white supremacist painted a mural in Downtown Tampa that is aimed to stand in support of police officers and read BACK THE BLUE. However, this mural doesn't follow any of the guidelines for street murals, it was not approved by the City of Tampa Mobility Department, because it was painted at night when city employees would not be able to properly block off the street. The mural is dangerous, because it covers over essential pavement markings that control traffic flow, making the city susceptible to lawsuits and places drivers, and pedestrians in danger which is counter-intuitive to the Vision Zero Initiative for Street Murals.

• The work is offensive, because police officers are not oppressed. The movement to bring attention to systemic racism is a culmination of 500 years. Conversations are being had to examine fund distribution in cities across the country - to place more funds into uplifting art programs, neighborhood programs, social services, mental health, and hold conversations around a reformed criminal justice system that reduces criminal activity. 

• The mural is an eyesore. The City of Tampa works with professional art placement organization who understand the process of the City of Tampa's Art Programs Division - the city has refined guidelines for mural projects within downtown, this hastily painted street mural did not follow any of the guidelines that make our city beautiful. 

• Militarized American Policing started with slavery, it is engrained into the very fabric of our communities that is being questioned.

• Over 6 weeks ago, residents of the City of Tampa asked Mayor Jane Castor for a Black Lives Matter mural in a center downtown location - the artists who worked on the project were given a run-around for nearly 3 weeks until a location was settled on in the area of intense historical racial tension near where the Central Business District was located, which was damaged in the 1967 racial riots following the death of a black teenager by police named Martin Chambers. 

The mural that sits on E. Twiggs street in Downtown Tampa was painted in the middle of the night by Police Benevolent Association which is a police union, further, there are videos of the painters of this mural stating racists remarks, as well as explaining that police killing black citizens is not wrong. The City of Tampa refused to give black artists their voice in the heart of Downtown Tampa to question, examine, and bring light to 500 years of systemic racism, but will allow a mural by white supremacists painted in the middle of the night without the proper channels of approval? Tampa Deserves Better.

Remove this painting, it makes Tampa look ridiculous to the world.

Removal of the painting will not make the statement that the people of this city don't "back the good police" who are doing their job of providing service to their community. The point of the conversation around systemic racism is to examine ways our communities can be safer, and more efficient without a militarized police force where millions of dollars are prioritized over more helpful services that actually reduce crime.

To be perfectly honest - if the mural was not painted by open white supremacists on video denying systemic racism, or if it was painted using the same guidelines that African American artists in our community had to follow to paint a street mural to Vision Zero guidelines this would be a lot less weird. This mural, the process, the statement is strange - there is a bigger picture here and we all should pay attention to it. 

Delete this mural, delete white supremacy. Tampa Deserves Better.

A handful of white supremacists don't get to make public art decisions in the middle of Downtown Tampa.


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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!