HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford’s Black Lives Matter mural was vandalized over the weekend, according to Mayor Luke Bronin.
The mural, which is located on Trinity Street, was created in 2020. It was in the process of being repainted.
“Whoever scrawled this swastika and message of white supremacy is a miserable, small, hate-filled person who wants us divided and afraid – but our Hartford community is united, diverse, loving, and strong,” Bronin said in a written statement. “We’re angry about this vile act of hate, but we’re not weakened by it. I went out this morning to thank the artists who have joined together to renew this mural as a beautiful expression of a community that stands together in love and mutual respect. Our police are working to find the person responsible for this hate crime, and I want that person to know that their hatefulness just made us stronger.”
Gov. Ned Lamont sent out a statement on Sunday afternoon condemning the vandalism.
“I am beyond disgusted to learn about the graffiti that was left overnight on Trinity Street,” he said in the written statement. “These do not represent Connecticut values, and all of us as a community need to take a strong stance to denounce any messages advocating hate and white supremacy. We will not be threatened by the messages of anonymous people who attempt to divide us and instill fear. I appreciate the work by the Hartford Police to investigate this crime.”
Artists returned Sunday to fix the damage.
“When I saw it on my friend’s letter, my heart just dropped. That’s just ugliness,” said Natalie Langlaise, one of the artists.
Latoya Delaire painted over the graffiti and drew a heart. While the vandalism is hurtful, she said it won’t stop them from sharing the message that Black Lives Matter.
“People are here everyday and seeing this, inspires them and maybe goes to their heart,” she said.
Each letter is unique, filled with images of art, equality and issues that matter most to the artist.
“Anti-gun violence is something I’m passionate about,” Langlaise said. “The killing of the 12-year-old, secret, happened on my street, Huntington Street. So I just wanted to this message in my art — this year, put down the guns.”
Langlaise said people have come by to check on them and offer words of encouragement.
“So even if though it’s something negative, it’s still bringing unity,” she said. “Some people who might have not passed you, passed you just to say, ‘Hey let me see what you’re all doing, you’re doing a good job, keep it up. Just keep going.'”
The video above aired in our 11 p.m. newscast on June 11, 2023.