Racial justice is apparently too controversial for one New Jersey town. Artists had received permission from Clifton city officials to paint a Black Lives Matter mural on an underpass, featuring images of raised fists. But after seeing the final result, City Manager Dominick Villano freaked out, saying it could be opening a can of worms. “This is public property. We have to tread lightly,” he told NJ.com. He felt the raised fist could be divisive, so it was instead painted over with a white box.
May Yuasa, one of the painters, said the mural was intended to celebrate Clifton’s diverse population. “I’m disappointed in our leaders and the people who decided to cater to a small group of people who opposed the original design,” Yuasa said. The artist and her group submitted a new design of children holding hands instead of removing the artwork completely. Villano said that the mural is staying up unless the New Jersey Department of Transportation wants it removed. “The state owns the bridge. They can do what they want,” he said.