NEW HAVEN, Conn — New Haven's Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs teamed up with Black Lives Matter New Haven and community organizers to paint a Black Lives Matter street mural on Bassett Street.
"It's been an opportunity for us to bring more awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement and the city is proud to support that work," said Meredith Benson of Black Lives Matter New Haven.
Lead artist Kwadwo Adae designed the mural, with the intention of getting the community involved in the painting process which took place on Saturday.
"Public art is like the voice of the community so it's important to have people in the community to have the ability to contribute to the discourse of public art in their own community," he said.
It's been well-received in the neighborhood where the mural is located.
"You have members from the neighborhood that had to sign-off on this to really give us the OK, that it was OK to shut down their street. So that wasn't a problem, that was kind of effortless, so we were happy to see the excitement from the community for this project," said Ashleigh Huckabey of Black Lives Matter New Haven.
Organizers say that excitement to create something together as a community, for the community, is what it's all about.
"Black Lives Matter is all about community. It's all about bringing together folks who live in the community together," said Benson.
Together, they hope their voices and message are heard.
"It's important that our joy is still celebrated. That we have joy in our communities throughout all the pain and the hurt that we're experiencing, all the injustices, we still should celebrate and show that our Black lives have mattered, always matter, and will always matter," said Huckabey.
"We're here to celebrate that, it's part of the value of Black lives matter that it's not some big corporate entity doing something but
it's actually the people in the community that are here to lift their voices and do the actual work," said Benson.
There were performances held throughout the afternoon while the painting was completed. The mural on Bassett Street is the first in a series of murals that will be painted throughout the city. In total there will be eight.