.Black Lives Matter Mural Vandalized Again, Artists Respond

The mural was restored just one month ago after it was initially defaced in 2021

Santa Cruz’s Black Lives Matter mural was vandalized for a second time on Saturday.

Artist Abi Mustapha and members of the Equity Collab, who conceived and created the mural, reacted in an official statement on Tuesday night.

The group expressed heartbreak and anger over the new attack on the mural, coming as spirits were still high from the recent restoration. They vowed a renewed determination to bring greater equity, justice and healing to Santa Cruz.

“We know a thing or two about resistance,” their statement said. “When we encounter it, it’s indicative that we are making waves. We know we are on the right track.”

The Collab thanked the Santa Cruz Police and Fire Departments for their immediate response to the incident and said they are still considering their options for repainting the mural. They will be advocating for hate crime charges to be brought if arrests are made.

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The mural, which spans the block of Center Street between City Hall and the downtown library, was damaged some time before 6pm, July 29. Blue paint was poured across the letters A and C. Passing cars driving through the pools subsequently left painted tracks from end to end.

The Department of Public Works was immediately sent to the scene with high pressure hoses, removing pools of wet paint, but considerable restoration work remains.

In 2021, Hagan Warner and Brandon Bochat defaced the mural with tire marks. This past June, professional artists, community organizers and city officials gathered at an emotional community repainting of the mural.

Erika Smart, the city’s Communications Manager confirmed that the damage to the mural was intentional, based on police review of security video. SCPD has requested that persons with any knowledge of the incident call 831-420-5995 to share their information. 

Local activist and entrepreneur Ayo Banjo spoke about the future of the mural. He will be meeting with other organizers this week to assess the situation and direct new efforts to make a meaningful impact on the community.

He expressed doubts about making the mural a focal point of community activism going forward.

“I don’t want folks to feel emotionally exhausted,” he said. “We need to find other ways we can showcase black lives and capture the essence of black life and culture.”

Banjo believes that it’s time for organizers to involve the black community in continuous engagement with new means of expression.

“I have no problem having symbolic gestures,” he said. “Those are important but those are not the foundation of progress or the foundation of a successful community.”


  1. This is too Orwellian. This is not a “mural”. Dear News Media: Please don’t change the definition of words to promote your ideology.

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  2. I think the vandals should have to go clean and restore the mural themselves.

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