Hartford’s Black Lives Matter mural defaced with swastika, white supremacy message
The Black Lives Matter mural on Trinity Street in Hartford was defaced over the weekend with a swastika and a coded message of white supremacy, Mayor Luke Bronin said.
Artists spent Sunday working to repaint the mural, which was created in the summer of 2020.
Hartford police are investigating, officials said.
"Whoever scrawled this swastika and message of white supremacy is a miserable, small, hate-filled person who wants us divided and afraid,” Bronin said in a statement. “But our Hartford community is united, diverse, loving, and strong. We're angry about this vile act of hate, but we're not weakened by it.”
Gov. Ned Lamont said he was “beyond disgusted” by the incident.
“These do not represent Connecticut values, and all of us as a community need to take a strong stance to denounce any messages advocating hate and white supremacy,” Lamont said in a statement. “We will not be threatened by the messages of anonymous people who attempt to divide us and instill fear.”
Artist LaToya Delaire was among those working to repaint the mural Sunday. She repainted a heart.
“When I got here and saw exactly where it was, I just started painting over it ‘cause I knew exactly what was going in that spot and that was a heart," Delaire said.
Organizer Sacha Kelly said: “We’re flipping it to the positive.”
Several groups are condemning the weekend incident. On Sunday night, a statement was issued by leaders of several groups, including the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford, Hispanic Federation-Connecticut, The Prosperity Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and Mandell JCC.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder to condemn the hateful vandalism that occurred at Hartford’s Black Lives Matter mural this weekend," the statement said. "The communal work of art represents the power of love, tolerance, and strength in the face of adversity. This cowardly act of white supremacy and hate, under the cover of darkness, is an affront to all people who value democracy, inclusion, and social justice.
"We are united in our commitment to ensure that diverse voices are heard and valued in Hartford and throughout the Greater Hartford region.”