The letters stretch along Rose Street, created by about 100 artists involved in a Juneteenth celebration event.
- Community creation: Artists create mural to celebrate Juneteeth with a message
They read Black Lives Matter, and feature slogans used in protests against police brutality, as well as words of peace and encouragement. Each letter has different images or words, but together they provide a single message.
"I mean anytime you state such a message on a big road downtown, it's definitely a sign that Kalamazoo is striving for equality." — Kevin King, head of community engagement at the Kalamazoo Public Library
Watch the videos for a view from above of the finished product.
And for a look at the work in progress.
Organizers of the event said Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S., gives the community a chance to celebrate the black community.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed in Gavelston, Texas, to inform enslaved people they were free. The announcement came more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation became official.
The mural was one of several activities held in Kalamazoo to celebrate, and follows similar efforts in other cities in the wake of protests over police brutality.
“We want to show our kids what we’ve been through, what our struggle is, and what [we’re] going through,” said Byron Benbo, who drove to the event from Battle Creek with his two children. “It’s an important message, it’s powerful.”