Ypsilanti community creates Black Lives Matter street murals

Public unveiling happening Saturday during Juneteenth celebration

A protestor carries megaphone at a protest in Ann Arbor held on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Sarah Parlette, WDIV)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – On Saturday, celebrate Juneteenth with the unveiling of two new Black Lives Matter murals in downtown Ypsilanti.

Starting at 11 a.m., community members can listen to live music, learn dance steps and shop local vendors.

The celebration will take place in the parking lot behind Puffer Reds on West Michigan Avenue, adjacent to one of the new murals on South Washington Street.

In early June, community members gathered together to create two 260-foot murals in different parts of downtown Ypsilanti.

The first Black Lives Matter mural stretches across South Washington Street between Ferris Street and Michigan Avenue. The second is at the Riverside Park entry driveway off of Cross Street.

Each bright yellow phrase is made up of 18-foot letters stenciled for the project by muralist Barney Judge.

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6, about 80 volunteers worked on the project, said Trische’ Duckworth over email.

The project was lead by Duckworth and Ypsi BLM Street Mural Project co-lead Trevor Stone.

Supplies and paint were donated by community members and Ypsi Ace Hardware. Money was also raised to help get the streets in better shape before the murals were painted, according to social media posts.

The project is working towards a goal of $25,000 to cover expected and unexpected expenses.

Donations are still be accepted and can be sent to Duckworth through CashApp, PayPal or through the mail.

Discussions about similar Black Lives Matter murals in Ann Arbor are in the works.

“We have met with the Ann Arbor art commission in hopes of painting murals in Ann Arbor. They were on board with the project,” said Duckworth, who is also the executive director of Survivors Speak, a nonprofit that has organized several social justice protests and support networks within Washtenaw County.

Related: List: Juneteenth events in Metro Detroit

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.