MONTPELIER — Due to a decision by the city of Montpelier, there will be no “Liberty and Justice for All” street mural painting party Friday, July 3, organizer and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Klar said Wednesday.
“They just rejected as too short notice,” Klar said in a July 1 email to Vermont Daily. “We have reapplied for soonest available date.” The next City Council meeting is scheduled for July 8.
Klar submitted the special event request to the city Monday, June 29. In the application, he said he wants to “reaffirm the founding principle in our Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal.” Klar says his mural “seeks to unify Vermont’s shared goals of racial comity with a slogan that merely reaffirms founding principles that are now more essential to mutual harmony and respect than ever.”
Klar had applied to paint the new mural Friday, July 3, on State Street between Bailey Avenue and Taylor Street, adjacent and due west of the Black Lives Matter mural painted on State Street Saturday, June 13.
The BLM mural request was approved unanimously at a Friday, June 12 special meeting of the City Council. Volunteers painted the lengthy street mural the next day. “It’s a quick turnaround here, but with any organizing campaign, you’ve got to feed off the momentum,” City Councilor Conor Casey said. Casey also noted that Gov. Phil Scott had given explicit consent to the BLM mural.
Vermont Daily emailed Montpelier mayor Anne Watson and city councilors Dan Richardson and Conor Casey to corroborate Klar’s account. This comment from Casey, a former Vermont Democratic Party senior official who on June 12 urged the prompt approval for the Black Lives Matter street mural, was received today:
I haven’t heard anything from City Hall, but personally speaking, the timing is irrelevant. I would oppose this mural as it detracts from the ‘Black Lives Matter’ message at a time where it is more important than ever to affirm this basic values statement. Unlike the BLM mural, I have yet to receive a single constituent request for Mr. Klar’s proposal and would equate the messaging to ‘all lives matter’ — an inappropriate response to the systemic racism that exists in Vermont and across the country. ‘Liberty and justice for all’ might be a laudable goal, but one we’re very far from achieving. We can’t even paint ‘black lives matter’ on the street without it being routinely vandalized.
My only hesitancy in opposing this mural is that it will likely give Mr. Klar the headline he is likely looking for. I’ve found his VT Digger commentary pieces on race to be offensive and unrepresentative of the values of our community.
Gov. Scott, against whom Klar is running for governor in the Aug. 11 primary, said yesterday he supports the “Liberty and Justice for All” mural as “patriotic” and having a similar message to “Black Lives Matter.”
VTGOP to celebrate Fourth
On Saturday, July 4, Vermont Republicans will hold an Independence Day celebration from 10 a.m. till noon on the State House lawn. The event will feature music, readings, and talks by candidates.
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.