"The whole idea of the mural was to connect, in solidarity, to the rest of the world and to uplift Black people, Black voices and Black issues."
Gale Rosboro, a neighborhood resident for over 50 years, led the team behind the massive Invest Black mural on Broad Street. We asked her about the genesis of the mural, about the attempt to remove it and what’s next for the Invest Black initiative.
What inspired the Invest Black phrase and how does it directly relate to the neighborhood?
The phrase “Invest Black” came from Ernest Jones, president of the Southwest Community Corporation board of directors. The whole idea of the mural was to connect, in solidarity, to the rest of the world and to uplift Black people, Black voices and Black issues.
The OMI community has been devastated by gentrification which has resulted in Black families being pushed out of the community, zoning laws that transformed Black-owned businesses into residences, overcrowded schools that have forced OMI children out of neighborhood schools, etc.
The Invest Black mural is an action. It’s a collective effort to revitalize what was once a thriving community to demonstrate how when like minds come together they can make a change.
What does the mural — and the attempted removal — represent to you?
The attempted removal was devastating. District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai responded quickly to stop the Department of Public Works. Overall. I think Maurice Rivers, executive director of the OMI Cultural Participation Project, summed it up perfectly in a quote for The Ingleside Light: “We’re not going to be washed away literally or figuratively.”
Safai arranged for Acting Director of Department of Public Works Alaric Degrafinried to meet with the project team for the Invest Black street mural to hear frustrations and take accountability for Public Work’s actions. He has committed to supporting the OMI community by ensuring that the mural is to remain untouched.
What’s next the Invest Black project?
We have quite a few initiatives that we want to push forward. We are waiting for the mayor’s budget to be approved before we finalize our next steps.
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