BLM Santa Cruz

 To our community, 

In 2020 there was an overwhelming outcry for justice which resulted in our community coming together to paint a street mural that would reflect a message of our commitment to ensuring that all Black lives not just solely matter, but feel safe and beloved in the pursuit of equity for all. In June of 2021, we came together again to repaint this mural and hear more intentionally about what we can do as a community to embody our values, and take action towards anti-racism. Shortly after, the mural was vandalized. The marks against this symbol of insurance towards a safer community revealed our deepest fears: racism and hate are continuing to be pervasive. The Santa Cruz Equity Collab’s s mission is not only to organize efforts around sustaining the mural but to continue to spotlight areas of inequity within our community and address the need for change. While recognizing this urgency, we also remain aware that real change takes perseverance, humility, and time. 

Let it be known that we plan on repainting the mural. At the moment we are currently awaiting more information to decide our best course of action moving forward. Repainting the mural is important as a symbolic action that we do intend to pursue. We wish to pursue a restorative justice model that focuses on repairing the mural and repairing the harm done to our community. Because the defacement of the mural was a federal crime, we are currently learning and exploring what restorative justice could look like in the federal system. As a result, we are already pushing the current standards of how we respond to conflict in our community. We invite everyone to recognize the possibilities for real, radical change by enacting restorative practices to repair, heal and ensure that this never happens again. This is a poignant time in the making of Santa Cruz history. How we respond is THE most accurate indicator of how much we as a community believe in what we paint. 

In this case, our current vision for restorative justice is simple. We desire that the defendants involved commit time and energy in self-improvement and restoration of the mural. Suggestions to our city attorney, the economic development department, the Santa Cruz arts commission, the presiding judge assigned to this case, and our local DA have already occurred and thus, we are advocating that these individuals be active in the restoration process. Restoration includes but is not limited to painting, planning, attending all community discussions, speeches, educational opportunities, and presentation of a public apology to the community attending. We would also like to see rehabilitation efforts in the form of professional therapy. Additionally, accountability for the financial repercussions of this damage, both to the mural’s physical image and the platform in which it represents, should happen. 

We appreciate all the inquiries and responses demanding justice. We are working on it. Thank you for participating, staying active, and being on fire for social justice in Santa Cruz.

BLM Mural Project. 2020

Below is the original info and resources.

What’s happening?…. We’re painting a BLACK LIVES MATTER mural on Center St. in front of City Hall while creating a sustainable plan for our community to step up to the challenge of being more racially inclusive and equitable. We’d like your help!

Letter of Intent

My name is Abi Mustapha. I’m a Santa Cruz and Bay Area Artist.  My intention for this BLACK LIVES MATTER mural is a dramatic call to action, on the part of the City of Santa Cruz’s government, organizations, businesses, and everyone involved throughout every stage of this project. Anyone who partakes in this incredible work is also called to the tremendously difficult, long-term act of deconstructing racism in our community and in ourselves. This mural is more than a symbolic action. Every participant is called to action. 

As we participate in this movement – including but not limited to, making phone calls, signing petitions, protesting, marching, donating, reading, making art, writing poetry and music, and speaking publicly – ask yourself what does it mean to stand up for racial justice and equality? What are each of us doing personally to change the systemic racism that is killing black people in this country? Have you taken the time to look at your own privileges, implicit biases, education, and how these affect our interactions with others and especially Black, Indigineous, and BIPOC members of our community? How do we want our government to implement racial equity in our community? How do we hold them and ourselves accountable in a transformational way?

My intention is that various organizations will have the opportunity to take turns in maintaining this mural. Furthermore, the group in charge for that year will be held to the task of showing us whanization/group has done over the past year to address racial and LGBTQIA+ equity, environmental justice and human rights in this community. Working groups/committees will be created to reviw, support and acknowledge what has been accomplished. As well as offer recommendations if necessary. So together we may celebrate achievements and analyze ways in which we can improve. It is a chance for the community to come together and continue to actively be the change we want to see.

This mural and its’ maintenance are a statement of intent and accountability to what our community is doing to create a more just world.

Abi Mustapha

  • Abi Mustapha- Local Artist, Creative director and Ideas gal.
  • Sean McGowen- Lead Organizational wizard.
  • Taylor Reinhold- Artist Activist & Send it Master.
  • Shandara Gill- Founder of Yoga For All Movement, Activist, Local Badass.

Info on Mural

When: Sept. 12, 2020 10am-6pm

Who: All are invited not just artists! Sign up! Priority will be given to Black and POC community members. Parents are welcome to sign up as one unit with your children, if you’d like them to roll out paint. (parents must be present the entire time;)

Volunteer sign-up :


Precautions: Masks required, sanitation station will abound, and social distancing will also be in effect. Safety First!


Immediate support, reporting of abuse crisis hotline. (LGBTQIA+ Femme affirming lense). 1 (800) 604-5841

Anti-Racism Resources

Building Racial Equity trainings with Race Foreward.

Mental health resource for Bi-POC women

Leadership, allyship and decololonization workshops