WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The future of the “Romeo Rock” is up in the air as the owners fear the back-and-forth between people spray painting “Black Lives Matter” and others replacing it with racist messages could turn violent.
Controversy and concern continue to swirl around the rock. Several community members vowed to protect it with positive messages, which are currently visible.
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The rock has been under the watchful eye of a group of locals 24-7. For years, the rock has been on a private piece of property in Washington Township, just to the south of Romeo. It’s a welcome canvass to all.
But during the weekend, “Black Lives Matter” was pained on the rock, replaced with “all lives matter,” changed back to “Black Lives Matter” and then replaced with a racial slur, officials said.
Now the rock has become a rallying place as regular citizens became civil rights warriors and sentries who guard the rock and the current message that Romeo will not tolerate racism.
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But the situation is complicated as the property is being torn up to make way for a new strip mall. The owners had planned to remove the rock in the coming months to make way for construction, but the recent back-and-forth has sped up their desire to move the rock.
Dan O’Leary, the Washington Township supervisor, is now in negotiations to walk the tender line between public sentiment for the rock and the message that’s currently written on it, as well as the rights of the property owners who fear violence could break out on their premises while people try to protect the rock.