The resolution, introduced by Kansas City Councilman Eric Bunch, will see Black Lives Matter murals painted on six streets in the city. They will be painted by local artists and volunteers with the backing of city staff and local organizations.
The streets include Briarcliff Parkway and North Mulberry Drive, Baltimore Avenue and 10th Street, 18th and Vine streets, Troost Avenue and 31st Street, Brookside Boulevard and 63rd Street, and Meyer Boulevard and Troost Avenue.
City Council members on Thursday voted 12-1 in favor of the resolution, saying the city “recognizes the importance and significance of the Black Lives Matter movement and desires to commemorate the message through painting street murals.”
Bunch said that the legislation is a “symbolic step” and “a step forward towards helping elevate the conversation and bring more light to this very important issue.”
“No amount of paint on the streets, murals on the street … are going to create systemic change,” he acknowledged, while carrying the resolution on the city council floor.
Black Lives Matter murals have been painted on street surfaces across the nation in response to the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Voting against the legislation, Councilwoman Heather Hall said she was worried it would have a “slippery slope” effect about what is allowed on the city’s streets. She was also concerned about public safety if vehicles were to confuse boundaries between traffic lanes.
“As soon as somebody crosses that line and they hit another car, then who is at fault?” Hall said, reported The Kansas City Star. “This is a slippery slope because now they’ve opened up the floodgates for anybody to put anything on the streets.”
Elsewhere, city councilors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, agreed on July 29 to remove a “Black Lives Matter” mural that was painted without a city permit from its Greenwood District.
During a Tulsa City Council last month, councilors were reminded that street paintings aren’t legal in the city. Markings on public streets are prohibited under federal traffic laws due to safety issues.
They were also told that if they allowed the mural to remain in the district, requests from other groups to write their own messages would have to be granted, given they do not incite violence or are not sexually explicit in nature.
According to Public Radio Tulsa, Councilor Cass Fahler said that he had received requests from several pro-police groups about painting the words “Back the Blue” in another area in the city, in support of the Tulsa Police Department.
Councilors agreed Wednesday that allowing the “Black Lives Matter” mural to remain on the city’s street surface would grant other groups the right to express themselves on city streets with their own messages.