Last week, on the 6th of April 2023, a disturbing act of vandalism took place in Venice, CA. One of the few Black Lives Matter street murals on the west coast was defaced, dealing a blow to the local community and highlighting the need for heightened vigilance against racially motivated crimes.
Located in the Oakwood subarea of Venice, the mural graces the street in front of the Historic First Baptist Church of Venice. This artistic installation was made possible by the efforts of former LA City Councilperson Mike Bonin and the activist group Defend Venice (formerly Save Venice) in February of 2021.
The malicious act was clearly premeditated, as evidenced by the red paint and multiple tire marks running in all directions from the street intersection of 7th and Westminster Ave. This act of vandalism not only disrespects the message of the mural but also stands as an affront to the historic Black community in Venice and the ongoing fight for racial justice.
It’s worth noting that the current councilperson, Traci Park, had her campaign fueled by the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) money. The LAPPL is known for its right-wing, anti-racial justice extremism. Park’s campaign language and policies have white supremacy reinforcing implications, and while not directly responsible, it’s possible that the racist overtones of Traci Park’s campaign may embolden existing local opponents of racial justice.
Given the severity of this incident and the potential connections to local politics, it’s crucial to treat it as a potential hate crime and address the issue with the urgency it deserves. We cannot allow such hateful acts to silence our voices or undermine the progress made toward achieving racial equity in our rapidly homogenizing Venice neighborhood.
As concerned neighbors we must take action. We urge you to contact your Venice Neighborhood Council City Council representative to express your concerns and demand the repair of the mural as well as a formal denunciation against this racially motivated vandalism. Let us stand together in solidarity and protect our community from hate.