Today, StreetsLA crews are creating a permanent piece of street art to commemorate the All Black Lives Matter March that took place in June in Hollywood. Hollywood Boulevard between Orange Drive and Highland Avenue will remain closed until Sunday, August 30 for the installation.
The project comes via StreetsLA, LADOT, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, and Black LGBTQI+ Activists for Change (BLAC), the organization that put together the march.
The All Black Lives Matter March on June 14 drew at least 40,000 participants advocating for racial justice and equality for Black and queer people. According to BLAC, the protest was “to amplify Black Queer voices and come together in solidarity” and “in direct response to the state-sanctioned violence against Black people, and the murders of #TonyMcDade, #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, and #AhmaudArbery. It is also about the 601 of our people killed by police in Los Angeles County in the last seven years and hundreds of others killed by White supremacy more broadly, including #SkyYoung, #GemmelMoore and #TimothyDean.”
The permanent design is similar to the temporary art BLAC and entertainment marketing company Trailer Park Group created for the march. It reads “All Black Lives Matter” and features the colors of the transgender, non-binary, and pride flags.
The permanent installation also includes a sign that reads, “All Black Lives Matter March for all Black lives and Black LGBTQI+ Rights, dedicated to transgender people of color, June 14, 2020.” Notably, Hollywood was also the site of the first Pride parade in 1970, which occurred one year after the Stonewall rebellion in New York.
“Acknowledging the historic event in June, while elevating the conversation about the experiences of Transgender and Queer people of color, is critical as we progress in the movement to ensure the visibility of our community,” Karina Samala, Chair of the City of Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Council, said via a statement.
O’Farrell’s motion to create a permanent installation was approved by Los Angeles City Council on August 19. During public comment, some callers expressed support for the installation, but others criticized the motion as hypocritical, saying that the council has failed to make meaningful changes in support of Black lives. O’Farrell disputed the latter comments, saying that “history was made” with the event. He highlighted disparities against queer communities of color and noted that several groups were involved in organizing the art for the march as well as the permanent installation
According to the Human Rights Campaign, transgender and gender non-conforming people, especially Black transgender women, are often the victims of violence in the U.S. In 2020, 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed so far and 27 trans or gender non-conforming people died due to violence in 2019. Because many incidents go unreported and because victims are sometimes misgendered, HRC says the number may be even higher.
Just last week, three transgender women were attacked and robbed on Hollywood Blvd. as bystanders recorded the incident and laughed at the victims. Two men have been arrested while a third remains at-large. On Thursday, protestors gathered in Hollywood to support the women.