FLORENCE, S.C. — S.C. Rep. Terry Alexander had a challenge Monday morning for those attending the official event marking the completion of a Black Lives Matter mural on Barnes Street.
Alexander, a Democrat representing House District 59 in the South Carolina General Assembly, told those attending to make Black Lives Matter by voting.
"It's important that we stand strong and, more importantly, we show the people of the city why our lives matter," Alexander said. "It matters because we are a part of the process. I challenge all of my sisters and brothers here, listening and reading, I challenge you to make your life matter. First of all by voting."
If people have concerns about how things are going in the city, county or state, Alexander said, they need to challenge the people in those positions and those who make the laws for the position.
"If you really want to matter and to let them know that your life matters, let them know by showing that your vote matters as much," Alexander said. "Your vote matters as much. Don't take it lightly."
Alexander asked those attending not to take the mural lightly, because it was a serious matter. He said the mural told the story of people, some of whom gave their lives to the country.
"I challenge all of you, my sisters and my brothers, tell your mothers, your fathers, your brothers, your sisters, your aunts, your uncles, your cousins, your neighbors, your friends, [to] vote," Alexander said. "Make your vote matter. So that it can make your life matter even more."
Once everyone makes their votes matter, Alexander said, then changes can happen.
"The statement on this road says it all: Black lives do matter," Alexander said. "It's been been alluded to earlier that some folks kind of confuse that as being political. But it's really the truth. Our lives matter. It's important that everybody recognize that."
Alexander also congratulated the artists for working on in the heat on a recent weekend to work on the mural. He also challenged those attending the mural unveiling to look at each individual letter, because it said something about the individual who worked on that letter and those who came before and after the artists.
Also speaking at the event were Florence City Councilwomen Pat Gibson-Hye Moore and Teresa Myers Ervin, leading artists Mel Howard and Narzhio The Artist, C. Wyleek Cummings and two local groups − Making a Difference and NextIsNow − that worked to secure the supplies for the mural.
Gibson-Hye Moore introduced the artists that worked on the mural and her sister-in-law Pearl Moore − the namesake of the basketball center − and told those attending that no city funds were used for the mural. All of the supplies were donated or collected by the group working on the mural.
She added that the city only lent the space for the mural.
Gibson-Hye Moore also expressed a hope that the city eventually could rename the portion of Barnes Street to a name that would commemorate the mural.
Myers Ervin expressed her appreciation that the mural was located on Barnes Street in front of the basketball center and the inclusive playground. She said this was a very inclusive place because of the accessible playground nearby and that the basketball center was named after Moore. She added that the basketball center was the only public building in the city to be named after a woman.
Cummings thanked Gibson-Hye Moore and Ervin for their efforts in securing the space for the mural.
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