Black Lives Matter Gathers in Oak Park to Demand Restoration of Unauthorized Mural

OAK PARK -- Dozens came out to Oak Park Friday to demand an illegally painted mural be allowed back.

A few weeks ago, the mural was removed from the Guild Theater. It had featured seven faces of black men killed by police in Sacramento.

“We got a gift, we consider it a gift," said Sonia Lewis with the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter. "We don’t know when, or who and how it was put up, but it was a beautiful mural put up on this wall here.”

The owning company of the building, St. Hope Development, told FOX40 the mural was painted illegally.

Originally, St. Hope's president, Tracy Stigler, said he would be open to the idea of having the mural returned if the original artist spoke with his organization. Tanya Faison, spokesperson for the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, said Stigler changed his mind.

“We sat down with them about two days ago and they said, 'Absolutely not,' so… ” Faison said.

So, Black Lives Matter decided to demonstrate.

Lewis hopes the mural comes back for the families of those men and for families of future victims.

“Imagine when things go down in the neighborhood and you can go to a centralized place to say, 'Hey, let’s meet here. Let’s be able to mourn our families. Let’s be able to come together in our pain and joy and memory of them,'” Lewis said.

St. Hope released the following statement to FOX40, which says in part:

"St. Hope strongly believes in helping to preserve the history of the neighborhood, which includes the Guild Theater. This is why we will ensure any vandalism to this historic, private property will be removed immediately and those responsible for such vandalism will be held accountable."