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‘This is why we march’ activists say painting over ‘white lives matter’ message

Black Lives Matter activists, others paint over messages of ‘White Lives Matter’ and ‘Keep America Great’ in Schoolcraft
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jul 22, 2020

SCHOOLCRAFT, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating messages spraypainted on roads throughout the area, the department said.

Wednesday afternoon, messages of White Lives Matter and Keep America Great were found spray-painted on the ground at the intersection of 8th Street and W Avenue, near Schoolcraft.

“When I see stuff like this, I think the people do it to maybe discourage us or to frighten us but those days are over,” said Kalamazoo activist Quinton Bryant during a phone interview. “We’re not scared. We’re not going to be shut up. We will come out. We will get that taken care of. We will paint over it.”

That’s exactly what happened.

Wednesday evening, Bryant and dozens of others showed up to the intersection with sidewalk chalk and spray chalk, and painted over the messages.

“That was just terrible for us to see as a community to wake up this morning and find it on our road,” said activist Madison Ring, a native of Schoolcraft. “So we’re over here painting over it to show our support.”

People painted several messages including We Shall Overcome, SCS values inclusion and diversity, and Black Lives Matter. One artist also painted a picture of Breonna Taylor.

Bryant said Black Lives Matter means that ‘we want our lives to matter just as much’ as everyone in the community. He added that he’d like to see officials state publicly their support for the movement to deter counter messages from happening.

“Without them saying that it gives them more reason to do it because they feel no one will challenge what they’re doing,” he said. “There will not be any consequences for what they’re doing.”

Both Bryant and Ring agreed that when they heard about the messages of White Lives Matter and Keep America Great spray-painted in Schoolcraft, it spurred them to continue to protest and rally.

“This is the reason why we march today,” Ring said. “We are just working more and more. It gets more people out here and more people realizing that this is real especially in small towns.”