Controversy surrounds new Banglatown welcome sign in Detroit

Not everyone is happy with how new sign turned out

By Jermont Terry - Reporter

DETROIT - It's meant to honor a community's nationality, but not everyone is happy with how a new sign turned out.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was on hand Saturday to help unveil a new welcome sign to Banglatown, only it had been noticeably spray painted over in two corners.

Days before the big unveiling of the "Welcome to Banglatown" markee, a sign popped up along Conant Street, and what was supposed to make the Bangledesh community proud left them perplexed.

"We were concerned about this, What's going on actually?" Md Zubarul Chowdhury said. "They are trying to do something which is not going to the right direction."

The original sign read "A Touch of South Asian Hospitality," and showcased a rickshaw, while the other side displayed a folk player. The Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee installed the marking, but despite paying more than $9,000 to show its pride, the images stirred up the complete opposite in the close-knit community.

"They didn't realize some things unintentionally like the rickshaw, it's not a symbol of our country and doesn't represent anything," Chowdhury said.

So community members contacted the PAC, but in the process of coming up with a resolution, someone so upset by the depiction took matters into their own hands with spray paint. That left both sides unhappy, especially with the unveiling hours away.

"I was totally shocked," Chowdhury said.

So to combat the vandals, the two sides that were at odds worked together to come up with a solution. Now, the American and Bangladeshi flags cover the rickshaw many found offensive.

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