This work is inspired by the one painted earlier this month in the other Washington. At the direction of D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, city workers painted a huge, yellow "Black Lives Matter" mural that stretches down two blocks in the city. While a bold statement, in the days since, Bowser has been criticized by activists who called the move "performative" as she reaffirmed her commitment to funding the police. That hasn't stopped other murals popping up across the country, however, with places like Charlotte, North Carolina, and now Seattle following suit.
But the one being painted tonight feels singular. Its placement in the heart of CHAZ reflects the hopeful and radical spirit of the zone. According to an interview with the mural's organizer in the Seattle Times, 90% of the painters featured are Black and the rest are people of color. "What’s happening right now should not be forgotten,” the organizer said. “The best-case scenario is that this will stay here forever, and the city help us touch it up each year or whatever to make sure it does.”
The painters are racing to finish it by tonight and slap a weatherproof coating on it before it rains again. Here are some in progress pictures as the artists wrap up their letters: