On Monday night dozens of protesters, including Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman, gathered outside of City Hall to paint ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ on the plaza. The massive 48-foot tall and 600-foot long mural is located on Marilla Street within the plaza and directly in front of Dallas City Hall.
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Kleinman, who was at the demonstration with his daughter Michelle, said he came out because he wants to be a part of getting the message across to city leadership that black lives matter.
“The council has really spoken clearly that they want to see some reforms in our Police Department,” he said. “This is about letting people’s voices be heard.”
The mural’s artist and the demonstration’s organizer, James Moore, agreed with Kleinman. He also pointed out that his artwork faces City Hall, so that the people who work inside can see and read the protesters’ message.
“The mural is a reflection of what needs to happen,” said Moore. “This is an everybody effort. This mural is a reflection of what we want City Hall to do, what we want greater Dallas to do. We need everybody to join in and help make changes.”
Moore, a Dallas native who lives in the suburbs and works in the city, said he put the event together after being contacted by the nonprofit the Better Block Foundation. He had to design the typography and select the mural’s color scheme.
“The triadic color scheme is the most important part of the mural,” he said. “It’s representative of the African Diaspora – Red, Black and Green.”
The mural is also temporary. Moore said it can be washed away with water. But he’s hoping the message lasts.
“The changes we want to make are permanent,” he said.
Ruben Leal was one of the volunteer painters. He too is a Dallas native. He said this is about having the words ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ painted on the plaza of the iconic building.
“As a native, to have this on the plaza is history making. Because this is a symbol of change. It’s a symbol of hope,” he said. “And I hope when people see this in the morning, that they would be inspired, they’d be motivated and they keep that energy. And the right energy, not anger, but that of love, hope and peace.”
Leal said he believes the city really needs to make a change. He called the demonstration a great event that is family-friendly. And he spoke about his hopes for the city after all the protesting is over.
“Equality. Equity. Resources in South Dallas,” he said. “We want to make this time about human rights, where everyone feels like they have a piece of the pie and can pursue the american dream without barriers, so they can be the best that they can be.”
Leal believes those are the reasons people are protesting. And he said when we have those things, then America can be the place it’s always wanted to be.