During finals week at UMass Amherst, Lucy Martirosyan set out to interview a teacher as well as a classmate about dealing with the stress of the closing school year.
After speaking with her former World Literature professor, Neelofer Qadir, the conversation turned into a discussion about the weight which people of color bear constantly around the campus, specifically black students and faculty. Lucy decided to continue that conversation with her former classmate, Gaelle, who also happens to be the secretary of the Black Student Union.
While Lucy was working on this piece, amidst these conversations, a stairwell in the center of campus (traditionally reserved in years past as a graffiti art space for students) was painted over a number of different times. Students had covered the space with slogans in solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Within a day of being up, those slogans had been repainted as “All Lives Matter” messages. Soon after, the Black Student Union organized an event to repaint the wall back to its original “Black Lives Matter” imagery. For some time, volunteers took shifts to ensure their messages remained as they were intended.
Students shared many images of the wall on social media, contributing to what has become a nationwide narrative in the struggle for racial equality. One campus organizer claims that pictures of the mural have been shared, favorited, and retweeted over 30,000 times.
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