For the past 4-5 years, Ricky Singh, an artist and an educator at Charlotte Lab School, has wanted to paint a mural on Beatties Ford Road. In the wake of last Monday’s tragic events, which claimed the lives of four Charlotteans — Jamaa Cassell, Christopher Gleaton, Kelly Miller and Dairyon Stevenson — Singh saw it was time to act.
With help from Niki’s Food Shop, its landlord and more than 50 artists and community members who gathered to plan on Friday night, the first mural went up on Saturday. But, the effort isn’t stopping there.
In partnership with For the Struggle, Historic West End Partners, Community Dream Builders, Wheels for Equality and many more, Singh says they’re creating a comprehensive plan of beautifying Beatties Ford while also creating an ecosystem where money recycles in the community. They are working toward a larger roll-out in July with cooperation from Beatties Ford Road landlords and the City of Charlotte.
Andrea Betaudier, chair of social justice ministry at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, was managing on-site voter registration on Saturday. She said “We want you to be registered, to be current and to vote. This neighborhood needs the federal dollars so we will have access to the many things that other neighborhoods would have. We need schools. We need renovations at West Charlotte (High School). We need a hospital … this is a food desert … we need centers for our children so they can have someplace to congregate after school and have a learning enhancement.”
When asked about the significance of the day (and the days ahead), Singh quoted poet Maya Angelou:
“You should be angry… [s]o use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it. You do everything about it. You talk it. Never stop talking it.”
Singh says that’s what it’s all about — talking, but acting, too.
“We’re going to try to create a culture where this continues,” he added. “Now is the time to do it and July is the month.”
Singh says the next step in the process is an open community engagement session on Friday, July 3 from 5:30-7:30pm at 2020 Beatties Ford Rd. The purpose of this session is for Beatties Ford area community members to share the history and their hopes and aspirations for the corridor. The meeting is open to all. Mural artists will be painting the building during the meeting and attendees are encouraged to bring supplies and/or donations with them.
HOW TO SUPPORT THE EFFORT:
- If you’re interested in getting involved, reach out to @mrrickysingh.
- Cashapp donations can be made to $ForTheStruggleInc.
- More information available at ForTheStruggleINC.com.
- Qcitymetro published another excellent article about this effort. You can read it here.
- Follow the other two artists in the image above who played a major role in the mural’s creation: Justin Surgeon (@inigma___) and DeNeer Davis (@neerperfection).
Photo Gallery from Andy Goh
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