MILWAUKEE — Black Lives Matter murals have been popping up across the country, now Milwaukee has one of its own.
Friday the city shut down the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Locust so neighbors could paint the street mural. The event was in honor of Juneteenth Day, a holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.
People of all ages and backgrounds helped artist Vedale Hill paint the mural on an intersection that bridges Milwaukee Police District 5 and the community.
"Even though I am younger I want to just be part of the community and help out with the issues," said Natalia Andrus.
"Extreme pride. It’s very humbling to be asked to do this, being one of the kids in the neighborhood, living from house to house dealing with extreme poverty. I’m glad to exist let alone be a lead artist in a project in a moment where the world is changing," said Vedale Hill, the lead artist.
This is the neighborhood Vedale grew up in.
"Being a black man in Milwaukee and with everything going on there’s been no better moment in history to put something like this out here for the public to join in," said Vedale.
He says the mural's message is simple.
"Black lives should matter to everyone, and that statement shouldn’t be anything that anyone debates," said Vedale.
Jasmine Bounds brought her mother and her 3-year-old daughter Zuri to be a part of the movement and help paint.
"It’s so many feelings involved with it all but today I’m feeling proud. Proud to be an African-American woman. Proud to just be black and knowing that our black is beautiful," said Jasmine.
As someone who grew up attending Juneteenth in Milwaukee, this year's holiday is one Vedale won't forget.
"We’re missing the smells of the foods. We’re missing some of the drumming and some of that but the love is still there," said Vedale.
Alderwoman Milele Coggs hopes people who see the mural are inspired and remember there is still work to do to improve the quality of life for African Americans.