New Black Lives Matter protest mural erected near former site of Frank Rizzo statue

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia leaders hope a new Black Lives Matter mural in the window of the Municipal Services Building is new a beginning for race relations, equality and justice in the city.

"We have a long road ahead of us but I am confident that if we work together, we are going to achieve our goal, true equity of all Philadelphians," said Mayor Jim Kenney.

The mural, titled Crown, is displayed just feet from where the controversial Frank Rizzo Statue once stood.

Supporters saw the former mayor and police commissioner, as tough on crime but critics labeled him a racist, who condoned police brutality in the Black community.

"In this place, this spot has been a really difficult place for a long time. The remnants of what was here are gone and the remnants of what is being born are right behind me" said Kenney.

Artist Russell Craig created the piece in partnership with the city's Mural Arts Department.

"I came up with the crown design. Corona translates to English, crown. So, I took the protesters and put them in a formation of a crown so we can remember the protest," said Craig.

"It's a beacon, a source of pride and inspiration and more importantly, it's a place where healing can begin," said Jane Golden with Mural Arts Philadelphia.

The artwork depicts local protesters and the names of people across the country who have died at the hands of police brutality.

"My goal is to hope that the mural will inspire people to keep pushing towards change," said Craig.

Residents say the mural sends a positive message but also add the work for change has to go further than just artwork.

"The picture is fabulous however, it is not enough and we need answers and results. We need action to be taken," said Thomas Blackwell, of Center City.

"The irony is that this mural, beautifully done by a Black man, the irony is that it is one of the facilities that make sure that black men stay locked up. So we have to be the change that we speak of," said Saj Blackwell, of Center City.

Mural Arts Philadelphia has nearly 4,000 artworks and is the nation's largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change.
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