Most people in America celebrate the holidays with family, good food and gift exchanges, but at least one miserable human being decided ‘tis the season for racism and vandalism when they chose the day after Christmas to smash to pieces a sculpture of Breonna Taylor in downtown Oakland, Calif.
Who knows why some coward who doesn’t believe victims of police violence should be honored felt the need to smash a statue celebrating the life of someone whose killers will likely never be brought to justice anyway? It’s the kind of violent act that serves as a reminder that neither the ousting of Donald Trump as president nor the racial reckoning that America has been facing since this past summer means that we can expect much racial healing in the coming year.
Leo Carson, the artist who sculpted the statue, decried its destruction as an act of “racist aggression” against Taylor and Black Lives Matter.
“I’ve put in hours and hours of my work and built it by hand,” Carson said, Mercury News reports. “Before the pandemic, I was a waiter so I paid for this out of my own pocket. It wasn’t cheap and it was incredibly hurtful personally. But it was also an attack on Breonna Taylor and the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Fortunately, Carson hasn’t been deterred from creating art to honor the movement or Taylor. He told KRON 4 that he “just started a GoFundMe to cast it in bronze to repair it and to reinstall it in bronze so that this couldn’t happen again.” The GoFundMe page has already surpassed its goal of raising $5,000 for the effort.
Meanwhile, according to SFist, the Oakland Police Department has released a statement saying it’s “aware of the incident regarding the vandalism of a bust honoring Breonna Taylor,” and that an investigation is underway.
Carson said he will continue to make more art inspired by the BLM movement and that the nationwide protests have actually inspired much of the art scene in Oakland.
“This is a struggle that will continue to go on so I want my art to help encourage that process and encourage people to fight longer, fight harder and be more passionate,” Carson said, according to Mercury News. “Those protests have the power to really change things.”
“The art community that we have now, it originally sprung up around the Black Lives Matter struggle and it has since then completely transformed the city of Oakland,” he continued. “It has really connected with the movement and so I really want my art to be a part of that course to change history.”
Racists have never been able to end a civil rights movement or any fight against systemic racism in America through random acts of violence and hatred. Some angry bigot taking his rage out on an inanimate object won’t stop anyone from protesting on behalf of Taylor or any other victims of police violence. The fight against racism in America will continue for as long as it’s necessary and anyone who opposes the fight can die mad. You can destroy a statue, but you can’t destroy the movement responsible for its creation.