Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

ACAB removed from Victoria’s More Justice, More Peace mural

New message points to VicPD, City of Victoria for silencing BIPOC voices

The organizer behind a mural that sparked months of discussions with the City of Victoria about censorship says she’s disappointed the mural is being altered.

“We are in the midst of erasing, erasing lived experiences and people’s voices, and also an artist’s work. It’s disappointing. But this is also a step forward,” said Charity Williams.

The mural, painted in August, spells out More Justice, More Peace and has been the center of discussion after Victoria Police Chief Del Manak opposed the acronym ACAB – which stands for All Cops Are Bastards – that was included in one letter.

RELATED: BIPOC artists come together to paint mural highlighting racial injustice in Bastion Square

On Wednesday a group of artists came together to black out the letter that included the acronym. To replace ‘ACAB’ there are now three eagle feathers. The phrase: “This letter has been censored by the City of Victoria influenced by the Victoria Police Department. In doing so, Victoria is contributing to the silencing of Black and Indigenous voices and experiences across this land,” is also to be added.

Williams said she hopes that when people see the mural, they’ll “see the void in justice” and see that justice wasn’t served in this case.

RELATED: Victoria votes to remove ‘ACAB’ from Bastion Square mural

“We can have as many discussions as we want, but that’s what happened. And that’s something that happens over and over and over again, BIPOC voices get silenced when it’s something that folks aren’t comfortable with,” she said.

Earlier this month, Victoria council voted to remove the acronym after a motion brought forward by Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe. After a lengthy debate, it was determined that the acronym would be removed but would be replaced with someone to acknowledge the artist’s experience.

Thorton-Joe said she wasn’t happy with the new changes and was considering bringing forward another motion that would ask council to remove the amended mural.

“As a visible minority, I have encountered racism many times in my life but I’ve always said that I don’t condone discrimination of any kind,” she said on Thursday morning. “I don’t think we can pick and choose what we discriminate against.”

RELATED: West Shore RCMP’s top cop joins voices calling for removal of anti-police acronym

City manager Jocelyn Jenkyns said the changes to the mural are an “honest representation of the artist’s experience,” adding that moving forward she believes the “important message of this mural will continue to inspire conversations.”

VicPD’s community engagement division said the department didn’t feel it would be appropriate to comment until the new letter is completed – “out of respect for the process.”

In August, Manak issued a statement saying that he fully supported the spirit of behind the mural but that by excluding one group through harmful words seemed to “counter the very spirit of the mural itself.”

VicPD was not included in the discussions between the city and the artists.


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

ArtCity of VictoriaracismVicPDVictoria Police Department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourists are being asked to postpone their non-essential trips to Tofino as COVID-19 cases rise across Vancouver Island, but at least one accommodation provider is offering conflicting messaging. (Westerly file photo)
Victoria woman says Tofino Airbnb host encouraged travel despite provincial restrictions

“The only way I would get a refund is if she would be able to rebook the suite for that weekend.”

A Victoria-based orthopedic surgeon has been reprimanded after using sexualized language during a surgical consult with a pre-teen patient. (Pixabay)
Victoria doctor fined and reprimanded for calling pre-teen patient a ‘loose woman’

Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda admitted to using sexualized language in surgical consult

Victoria police are asking for the public’s help locating Alexander Stokes, 19. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for missing teen

Police looking to ensure safety of Alexander Stokes, 19

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Anvy Technologies CEO Victor Nicolov displays his company’s innovative garbage disposal device, the Sepura. (Courtesy of Anvy Technologies)
Goodbye garburator, this Victoria company has a clean composting solution

Sepura has made Time Magazine’s ‘100 Best Inventions of 2020’ for its hassle-free functioning

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu marks 105 years

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Most Read