Photo credit: Albion Standing Facebook page
Students and their supporters gathered on Feb. 27 to protest a backlash against a Black Lives Matter mural at Marshall High School in Michigan. Students had painted the mural at their school as part of a Black History Month commemoration. The art project, done by student members of the NAACP Michigan Youth Chapter, was met with a racist response from local parents. Many parents were upset by the mural and complained at the school board meeting.
The protest, organized by MHS student leaders with help from local organizers in the anti-racist community group Albion Standing, drew 50 people on a rainy winter’s day.
Marshall is a small city of about 7,000 residents located 98 miles west of Detroit. Less than 12 miles from Marshall is the city of Albion, population 8,400. In 2013, Albion High School closed and students started transferring over to MHS. While Albion is around 30% Black, Marshall is less than 1% Black and more than 90% white. Marshall also has nearly double the median income of Albion.
High-school speakers at the demonstration expressed a sense of isolation after transferring from Albion to MHS. Parents voiced concern about the safety of their African American children.
Local organizer Santrell Perez from Albion Standing summed it up: “It can be scary to be Black in America. [Our kids] shouldn’t have to be scared at school.”