As unanimously approved by the Half Moon Bay City Council at its meeting of August 18, a Black Lives Matter mural has been painted on the facade of City Hall. This 7’ x 10’ yellow and black mural is one way the City is illustrating its support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, in addition to passing a resolution at that meeting as a way of standing in solidarity with communities of color.
“This mural is a statement by the City that we continue to be appalled and outraged at the continuing systemic racism in our country as a whole, and the deadly oppression that has resulted,” said Half Moon Bay City Manager Bob Nisbet. “This clearly represents our City values of inclusiveness and tolerance. We are affirming Black humanity and Black contributions to society, and standing with others in our community and throughout the nation who are demonstrating, protesting, and denouncing racism and discrimination.”
Following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black men, women, and children, the Half Moon Bay community came together to demonstrate in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Peaceful demonstrations were held by community members throughout the city.
In June, the City Council conducted a public discussion on policing issues, and later established a City Council subcommittee to consider these public safety issues and the City’s contract with the San Mateo County Sheriff – all in the context of the issues spotlighted by the BLM movement. At City Council meetings during the summer, several members of the community spoke in support of painting a Black Lives Matter mural at City Hall, as a way of expressing the City’s principles on the issue. The City Council agreed, and on August 18 approved the mural concept. The mural was completed on Friday, September 11.
Among the community members who encouraged the City to proceed with a mural were two local students, Deaglan Eblovi, age 13, and Junuh Eblovi, age 12. Earlier this summer, these boys had organized an effort to provide Black Lives Matter signs to residents throughout the city for a nominal fee, with the proceeds donated to charity. They ended up delivering more than 70 signs, and donating $450 to the International Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. The boys also spoke to the City Council at two meetings, thanking Councilmembers for taking a stand and proceeding with the mural. The actions of these young community members speak well of their understanding of and commitment to this critical social issue – and offers a sense of optimism for the social engagement of the next generation of Half Moon Bay residents.
The mural in place is temporary. This provides the opportunity for public feedback over the next six-to-twelve months, to determine if this is, or what may be, the most suitable permanent display of the City Council’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The mural is considered government speech and represents the City Council’s own viewpoint.
The mural and resolution in support of the Black Lives Matter movement proudly connects the City Council with Half Moon Bay residents and neighbors who have come together in affirming that Black Lives Matter. These actions illustrate that the City Council stands in solidarity with communities of color, affirms the inherent dignity of all community members, holds itself to the highest standards of equity and justice, and unambiguously supports Black lives, systemic change, and racial justice.