Flint, Mich., Officials Block Repainting Of BLM Street Mural, Blame State Agency For The Decision

Michigan’s transportation department denies putting the brakes on the project.

Michigan and local officials in Flint, Mich., are pointing a finger at each other over the decision to block a public art project to repaint a Black Lives Matter street mural in the city, MLive-The Flint Journal reports.

Supporters of the project wanted to put a fresh coat of paint on the BLM mural and rededicate it in time for the Juneteenth holiday on June 19. It was first painted on a stretch of the city’s King Boulevard  in 2020, a few weeks after the murder of George Floyd.

But Flint officials put a halt to those plans and reiterated on July 11 that they haven’t changed their minds.

In a statement to The Journal, City Administrator Clyde Edwards said, “The city of Flint understands street murals to pose a variety of traffic safety concerns, and we will not allow them. In addition to following guidance that the city of Flint received from (the Michigan Department of Transportation) via email the last time this issue arose in 2020, we continue to follow the guidance of our city of Flint traffic control professionals.”

In a separate statement, Edwards blamed state transportation officials for the no-paint policy.

“While the city of Flint supports many other Juneteenth activities in the community, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has informed us that they will begin enforcing regulations that prohibit street murals and will shut down Martin Luther King (Boulevard) if it is repainted,” Edwards’ said, according to The Journal.

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However, MDOT spokeswoman Jocelyn Garza told The Journal that Edwards’ claim is untrue. “MLK Boulevard is a locally owned road, and does not require an MDOT permit,” Garza stated.

DeWaun Robinson, founder and president of Black Lives Matter Flint, told The Journal that organizers submitted an event plan for the repainting and met with city officials about it. “They didn’t want to support it. That’s just what it is,” he said.

Councilwoman Ladel Lewis said that her understanding is that the city blocked the project over liability concerns for potential lawsuits “if someone tried to brake on the mural and slid into something because they can’t stop because the ground was painted,” according to The Journal.

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