Tiera Howleit, an IU student who founded Black Collegians, worked with fellow student Joa'Quinn Griffin and artists Katie Scott, Olivia Roath, and Ronny Booker to bring an all-inclusive Black Lives Matter mural to IU Bloomington's campus.
This street mural was sanctioned by Banneker Community Center’s advisory council in Bloomington, Indiana. It was organized by the city and painted by Raheem Elmore and Christina Elem, who are local artists from the area. The painting was done by the artists in tandem with volunteers in the community. The mural still exists and has not been vandalized, but it has been controversial. The right-wing group Turning Point USA brought litigation against the city of Bloomington, claiming that by denying its application for an “All Lives Matter” mural, the city denied the group’s First Amendment rights.1 However, the case was unsuccessful after the city adjusted its policies on the approval process involved for a mural to be produced. The community is very proud of the mural and, according to the mayor of Bloomington, “putting the words Black Lives Matter at the heart of our downtown matches up with values at the heart of this community: equity, inclusion, and justice. The words on the street will serve as a constant reminder to combat the persistence of racism and discrimination in Bloomington and beyond.”2
There are two other Black Lives Matter street murals around the city of Bloomington that have been painted by different artists. Although these murals are not directed at any specific event in the Bloomington community, they are meant to contribute to the discussion on police brutality and racial inequality in the United States justice system. The local advisory council is thrilled to be involved with local artists focused on racial justice. According to the head of the local advisory council, “When we started this journey, we were mourning the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Now, we watch anxiously as the Chauvin trial is underway; and as if this isn’t enough, we are now grieving the loss of Daunte Wright. Coming together as a community to paint this mural is a powerful action that will also bring a bit of the consolation that we all need.”3 Overall, this street mural is a testament to the changing perceptions of race, authority, and discrimination in America and the importance of artists being activists.
“Black Lives Matter Street Mural, Bloomington, In.” George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art, https://georgefloydstreetart.omeka.net/items/show/3527.
- Smith, Rachel. “Free Speech Lawsuit Spawns New Bloomington City Policy, Leads to More Criticism.” Times, The Herald-Times, 12 Jan. 2023, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com/story/news/local/2023/01/12/bloomington-limits-speech-in-art-installations-in-public-right-of-way/69765308007/.
- “City's Second Black Lives Matter Mural to Be Installed on Downtown Square.” Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, https://www.chamberbloomington.org/member-news/citys-second-black-lives-matter-mural-to-be-installed-on-downtown-square.
- “City's Second Black Lives Matter Mural to Be Installed on Downtown Square.” City of Bloomington, https://bloomington.in.gov/news/2021/04/14/4818.
News Coverage by The Herald Times and Indiana University
Tweet by Tiera Nicole on July 07, 2021
Photographer: James Brosher