Black Lives Matter mural in Calgary on hold after organizers receive threats
A Black Lives Matter mural in Calgary has been put on hold after organizers say that they received "violent vitriol, racism and threats" in response to the project.
Pink Flamingo, a group that works with Black and LGBTQ+ communities, received $120,000 in funding for four anti-racism murals that they planned to complete over the next year.
The project was met with backlash, however, primarily because the first mural was set to replace Calgary's iconic "Giving Wings to the Dream" by Doug Driediger.
Driediger's mural was designed in support of CUPS in 1995, a non-profit society that reaches out to Calgary residents whose lives are in turmoil to offer help and support.
A petition to save the original mural had racked up almost 6,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
Hi Rod – Due to the unprecedented support for the Giving Wings to the Dream mural by Calgary artist Doug Driediger created in 1995, The City is now working with all stakeholders to find an alternative and more permanent site for the first Black Lives Matter mural.— City of Calgary (@cityofcalgary) August 12, 2020
Pink Flamingo said that it reached out to the original artist for permission before pursuing the project.
"We moved forward with this wall after reaching out to the original artist and would not have gone ahead if we did not understand our correspondence as supportive, or at worst, neutral," the group said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
They added that they announced the mural weeks ago, but it wasn't until this week that they faced backlash.
Now, Pink Flamingo says that they will be putting the project on hold indefinitely.
"The last two days, the narrative has changed, and it is no longer safe to carry out the Black Lives Matter Murals this year," the company said in the Facebook post.
"The city is not ready. But we are."
I am upset, pissed off, outraged that @pinkflamingoyyc has had to make the heartbreaking decision to postpone their Black Lives Matter BIPOC Murals Project until next summer 2021 due to RACISM, THREATS and violent "feedback". WTF is this #yyc?— kait kucy (@kaitkucy) August 12, 2020
Pink Flamingo added that they're hopeful future endeavours will be met with more success and understanding.
"We deserve the same funding opportunities and visual representation as all of the non-Black artists in this city and we know in our hearts that the support necessary will be there," they said.
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