Church’s parking lot to become Black Lives Matter mural

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BY FLORIDA COURIER STAFF

The first Black Lives Matter mural to be erected in a church parking lot in Palm Beach County and quite possibly the state of Florida will be unveiled on Sunday, Oct. 18, at New Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church,  748 W. 9th Street, Rivera Beach.

The predominantly Black waterfront city is located just north of West Palm Beach.

It will most certainly be the first time parking space curbstones will bear the names of past historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Medgar Evers, Jimmie Lee Jackson, as well as those modern-day victims of the movement such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Corey Jones.

Victims’ families invited

The curbstones are in red, signifying the blood shed in their untimely deaths. Above the curbstones is a mural bearing one of the Ten Commandments, Thou Shall Not Kill. A group called Sub-Culture donated their work for the Black Lives Matter mural.

Many high-profile names will be on hand to mark the occasion  and to mark the fifth anniversary of the killing of church drummer Corey Jones, who was killed by police officer Nouman Raja as Jones waited on a tow truck off I-95 in Palm Beach Gardens in 2015.

Raja is currently serving a 25-year sentence in the shooting death of the popular drummer.

Those who will attend include Jones’ aunt, Sheila Banks, who galvanized the guests; Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin; Wanda Cooper-Jones, mother of  Ahmaud Arbery; Diamond Reynolds, fiancé of Philando Castile; Vickie McNeill, mother of Tinoris Williams; and Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Central Park Five.

‘A history lesson’

The host of the event is Bishop Thomas Masters, founder and pastor of the church.

Masters, who is also the former long-term mayor of Riviera Beach and currently the International Ambassador for the World Conference of Mayors, says the parking lot mural was his vision to bring the social movement to the church. Masters says Black Lives Matter is not new.

“Throughout history, we’ve had Blacks killed just because they were Black – Dr. King, Malcolm, Medgar Evers. This is history.  It’s a history lesson, “ he said.

Following the unveiling ceremony, Riviera Beach Councilman Douglas Lawson will lead a caravan through the city urging residents to get out and vote for early voting, which starts on Oct. 19, the day after the event.

For more information, email mvdozier@gmaill.com or call 561-628-5835. 

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