South Windsor

South Windsor Mayor Addresses Decision on ‘Black Lives Matter' Mural

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Mayor Andrew Paterna held a news conference to discuss the approval of the 'Black Lives Matter' mural near town hall in South Windsor and called on town leaders to start working on a process to approve artwork that town-based groups request.

The South Windsor for Black Lives Matter group recently submitted a petition to keep the BLM painting in front of the town hall.

South Windsor has a several protests in the past few months. Event organizers said they rallied for justice and are protesting against systemic racism.

"We want our community to show their full support to the Black Lives Matter movement!!!" a post on Instagram said.

Paterna on Friday discussed the process he went though in approving the Black Lives Matter mural in front of town hall.

He said he spoke with organizers of the rallies on June 11 about how to show residents support of the Black Lives Matter movement and agreed with their proposal for a mural and secured private funding for the painting.

He also secured private funds to pay for it, he said.

"I made sure that no town funds or town staff were involved in the creation of the mural," Paterna said.

"So, I offered my approval for the mural to be added to the driveway near town hall and I take full responsibility for that decision. i did not talk with any other town council members. The town manager was not involved in making this decision," he said.

The mural was added on June 12 and there is remained for two months until it was defaced and Paterna called for whoever was responsible to come forward and apologize.

The mayor said that he did not follow any approved procedure in making the decision to add the mural and the town has no formal process for approving a mural of the type.

"Therefore, if this offended some of our residents or members of the town council, or the town manager, or the town staff, I offer my sincere apology to anyone upset by my decision," he said.

Janice Synder and Lisa Maneeley are both on the town council and they support the Black Lives Matter movement, but believe a unified decision should’ve been made before paint was put to the ground.

“It wasn’t voted on. It wasn’t brought to the public but it was on public property,” Maneeley said.

The mayor said there was a sense of urgency and asks people to understand.

"I ask you to understand the intense emotions and sense of urgency that existed as we watched on TV the video of George Floyd killed by police," Paterna said.

The mural has been painted over until town officials decide what to do next.

The mayor called on the town council to establish a formal process for the approval of artwork or murals requested by any town-based group in the future.

"I think, regardless of what your option is about the mural, now is the time for all of us in this town to come together and start discussions about racial equality and social justice," Paterna said.

South Windsor’s Town Council has put together a Black Lives Matter sub-committee to work toward different ways that they can help communities of color.

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