The Lincolnton Police Dept. issued a news release Wednesday seeking help from the public in finding the person or persons responsible for the vandalism. CLICK HERE to see the article with full details of the news release.
If you can provide any information, contact the Lincolnton Police Dept. 704-736-8900 or Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. You could receive a reward up to $1,000.
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
It didn't take long. The nay-sayers decided to take action. Someone who obviously didn't like the "United We Stand" mural that was painted on N. Poplar Street over the weekend decided to express their negative opinion by leaving tire marks from one end to the other.
Hours of work, preparing and organizing, then directing volunteers by artist Demarius Pearson could have been lost. It was certainly defaced. The same kind of vandalism occurred in Charlotte after that city painted Black Lives Matter on Tryon Street downtown.
Pearson not only came up with the idea and as said, did a lot of work. He went before the Lincolnton City Council and got their permission. In other words, he dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's.
There were those who objected to the original plan for the mural. Pearson wanted to offer an expression of hope and unity to the marginalized in our community. He at first hoped to include flags of countries from which some immigrants to Lincolnton had come. He wanted to include the LGBTQ citizens. His wasn't a 'black lives matter' mural; it was an 'all lives matter' mural in the truest sense of the words. It wasn't meant to offend anybody.
When some voiced criticism because his original design did not include an American flag, Pearson changed the design. There are no flags in the mural. Additionally, to placate those who felt the mural was unpatriotic, the decision was made to place an American flag--not on the ground or as a part of the mural--but in front of the building at First Federal Park.
Pearson said he didn't leave the American flag out for any unpatriotic reason, the mural was meant to express what America is all about: that despite our differences--in color, ethnicity, religion, sexual preferences, or politics--we are all a part of this community (and of America).
So what now? Is the project ruined? It's certainly damaged--but then those who have been marginalized can appreciate what Pearson has planned. The marginalized have often gone through being criticized, left out, unappreciated. They have been forced to make the best of bad situations--to overcome their adversities.
Pearson told us Wednesday morning: "We’re going to find a way to incorporate the marks into the art. Not scratching it out. Literally put it into the message I’m sending."
If those who vandalized Pearson's artwork thought they had won, they're very wrong. Demarius Pearson meant it when he chose "United We Stand" for the mural. He's inviting even those who disagreed with his idea to become a part of it.
He hasn't finalized a plan on how to do it yet, but he's already thinking about it...and he'll get it done--again! We'll be publishing more about the plans for restoring--correction, redeveloping--the mural. Like a phoenix, Pearson and the many friends who took the time to help with the project will rise again. It's what it's all about--United We Stand.
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Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Article comment by:
I am so sorry for what someone filled with hate did to deface the artwork/mural. I commend Mr. Pearson for his dedication, talent & sticking to his principles of "United We Stand". God bless him and all the humans who worked so hard to get this project completed.