Park City mayor says many critics of Black Lives Matter mural are outsiders
Park City Mayor Andy Beerman estimated nearly half of the people who sent messages to himself or members of the Park City Council in the approximately two weeks after a Black Lives Matter mural and other artworks with social justice themes were put on the Main Street asphalt are not full-time Park City or Snyderville Basin residents.
He said the messages that were sent from outside the community were “overwhelmingly negative” toward the mural or the Black Lives Matter movement. More than 70% of the messages sent by people inside Park City or in the Snyderville Basin, though, were in support of the murals, Beerman said.
Beerman in an interview described the Black Lives Matter mural and other works with social justice themes that were created at the same time as a “provocative art project.” He noted City Hall has elevated social equity to a critical community priority.
“We’re proud of some of our progressive efforts. … We try to serve as a model,” the mayor said, describing that a large majority of Park City residents support the statement “Black lives matter” and want a continuing community conversation about the topic.
Beerman did not see the Black Lives Matter mural, created on Independence Day, as something meant to align the municipal government with the organizations of the same name.
The murals, particularly the Black Lives Matter work, spurred numerous messages to the mayor and the Park City Council. The writers were split between those supporting the murals and those who were displeased. The correspondences in opposition outnumbered those in support.
“I think Park City wears its values on its sleeves,” Beerman countered, listing energy, housing and transportation as other critical community priorities for City Hall that leaders “don’t try to hide.”
The mayor said the spread of the novel coronavirus has reduced the civility level in the community in recent months. He described people as having moved toward more extreme reactions since the illness appeared in the Park City area toward the end of the ski season in the spring.
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