Wake County News

Vandal scribbles racist, anti-Semitic messages on downtown Raleigh mural

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Someone appears to have vandalized the Dare to Dissent mural in downtown Raleigh.

Writing appeared all over the mural Wednesday. The messages are largely racist or anti-Semitic.

Dare Coulter, the artist behind the Downtown Raleigh mural "Dare to Dissent," said she's shocked to hear what happened to the painting. 

"It's all just very weird right now," Coulter said. "Different people have different messages, and for this person to decide that this was their platform, it just wasn't appropriate."

She said she found anti-Semitic remarks written in different colors across the mural, talking about things including slavery and Jewish people.

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"I almost want to talk to them so I can direct them to the people I wish they can have the discussion with about where they went wrong, or why these things are strange, or the things that they feel are true, or the things that are not," Coulter said. "At that point, that's where growth or change happen. But, harboring anti-Semitic viewpoints, who's that good for?"

She said she was inspired to create the mural a year ago, recognizing historical rights of protest. 

"This was acknowledgement of people who's voices were being used in ways that were scary," she said. "It just wasn't easy for these people. I wanted to say, as the artist, I acknowledge you. I appreciate you. I value you."

Coulter said she'll work to restore the mural's original message for all soon. 

"I wouldn't want to rob Raleigh of that," Coulter said. "I wouldn't want to rob me of that. I wouldn't want to rob the people who are experiencing that of that, and we're not going to."

Coulter said it's a collaboration between the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina and the Raleigh Murals Project.

She said she'll be back out to paint the mural early next week. 

The ACLU of North Carolina tweeted, "We will not let racist vandalism ruin this mural for the Raleigh community. We will restore this iconic part of downtown as soon as we can."


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