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Toledo Black Lives Matter activists respond to collapse of George Floyd mural

Toledo Black Lives Matter activists respond to collapse of George Floyd mural

Ruth Leonard and Julian Mack with the Community Solidarity Response Network say they believe the collapse made the mural more important.

TOLEDO, Ohio — What was once a north Toledo mural memorializing George Floyd, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year, is now a collapsed pile of bricks.

RELATED: George Floyd mural in north Toledo reduced to rubble after being struck by lightning; mayor and artist say it will be replaced

City officials say lightning hit it, knocking it down Tuesday afternoon. Since then, there’s been a lot of reaction from people living in the Glass City.

They include Julian Mack and Ruth Leonard, who are activists with the Community Solidarity Response Network. 

“Not seeing that face there strikes something up in me. I’ve seen people drive by; it’s striking something up in them,” said Mack, the spokesman for CSRN, as he watched people drive by the scene. 

They say they were surprised when they heard about the mural, simply because of what it meant to them.

“I think my initial reaction to hearing about it was that it wasn’t lightning. Because it’s been such a contentious year of just dealing with race and dealing with other people’s opinions and therefore actions towards anything that uplifts Black people,” said Leonard, the administrative lead for CSRN. 

“George Floyd’s name is etched in the memory of human beings’ minds all over the world. And Toledo is no exception. The cause for justice in the name of George Floyd, of improving our society in the name of George Floyd, resonated here as much as anywhere,” said Mack. 

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Leonard and Mack see the rubble as a sign. They believe an even larger mural will soon make its appearance in the city because they believe it’s needed. 

Leonard says the collapse gives the community an opportunity to reset, and realize the fight against racism isn’t over. 

“You can still see a very clear divide in how people are responding and reacting to this. Some people are celebrating the fact that the mural was destroyed, in the way that they ignored the circumstances of George Floyd’s death in the first place,” said Leonard. 

“There’s something about seeing this. There’s something about last summer. You know, there’s something about this, even just the moment we’re in right now. That calls for transformational action. And that’s what we’re gonna get,” added Mack. 

A spokesperson for the city says buildings officials have determined that an emergency demolition of this building is not necessary at this time.

Meanwhile, David Ross, the mural’s artist, says he is planning to redo another mural of George Floyd somewhere in the city. 

Leonard and Mack say it should be up to him what happens with the bricks laying at the sight of the collapse, whether it be to rebuild another mural or auction them off to raise more funds for a larger one. 

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