STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – People from across Northern California came together in Stockton to celebrate Juneteenth by painting a colorful mural.
“We’ve been seeing around the country, people doing ‘Black Lives Matter’ murals on the street,” organizer Summer Escobar explained. “We thought it would be great to have that represented here in Stockton.”
This mural makes Stockton the latest place in the nation where activists have taken their paintbrushes to the streets to make this proclamation.
“People say that Black lives matter, but Black joy, Black art, Black everything matters,” Escobar said.
Friday morning, organizers partnered with local artist Kia Carter to paint those three big words on a street along Victory Park.
“I feel like it’s really inspirational and the timing is great and I’m really happy about how many people are excited about helping paint,” Carter said.
The initiative is a community-led and community-funded effort, with organizers raising about $800 for supplies in just a few short days. About 60 people showed up to help paint.
But getting those volunteers to show up from as far as San Jose and Shingle Springs was only half the battle.
Organizers have been in talks with the city and the Stockton Police Department to get permission to paint the mural.
“Given the fact that there has been about 2-3 days just to organize the whole thing, we did face challenges with getting the permit, getting the city to let us do this,” organizer Ameer Othman explained.
Officers showed up to the park when painting started, reminding volunteers the mural could only be temporary.
“We have washable paint, so we’ll be cleaning it off at the end of the Juneteenth event, so there’s no issues here. But it just would have been nice to have a little more support from the city,” Escobar said.
They say even if their mural only lasts one day, their movement is just beginning.
“Black Lives Matter is not a one-time thing, not a one-day thing,” Escobar said. “This is something that, it’s not a year or two years from now, it should be known forever.”
“We want to have a mural that’s more permanent, so we hope to do so by contacting the city after today and trying to get a mural that’s more durable and long-lasting,” Othman said.