Watch CBS News

LGBTQ+ Mural Vandalized In Elizabeth, N.J., But Activists Say They Will Restore It To Symbolize Subject's Resilience

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A mural honoring a well-known LGBTQ+ activist was vandalized recently in Union County.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported Wednesday, an effort is in the works to restore it.

Red spray paint now covers the face of two murals of the transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson in Elizabeth. CBS2 was with artist Malcolm Rolling when he saw the damage for the first time.

"It's disheartening. There is nothing like this that exists in Elizabeth, right? So to see these murals taken down like this, I'm upset," Rolling said.

READ MORE'Hope In A Box' Program Aims To Promote LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculums At Public Schools

The mural was painted last year ahead of Elizabeth's first-ever Pride parade. The nonprofit group The People's Committee of Elizabeth fundraised to hire three local artists to do the work.

"We just wanted to bring our community together because there had never really been Pride in Elizabeth," the group's Katherine Justiniano said.

"I really believe in what they are doing and that's what made me come over here. I didn't take any money for this. The funds that they raised initially were just for paint," Rolling added.

READ MOREPride Month: LGBTQ+ Community Making Inroads In Corporate America, But Knows Much More Work Must Be Done

The group chose a wall on 4th Street under the New Jersey Turnpike overpass because it get's a lot of foot traffic. Members hope the social justice mural educates the public about Johnson and her involvement in the Stonewall uprising in the late 1960s.

"It was actually recently our first time learning about who she was and what she did and we were like, how is it that we are from Elizabeth and we don't know about this iconic figure from our city?" said Natalie Hernandez of The People's Committee of Elizabeth.

Rolling said he now has plans to fill in the blank space between the two images.

"I have something to say. Like I said, I'm a little furious. I have something to say, and add something to mural make it more robust," Rolling said.

READ MORERye City Council Votes To Fly LGBTQ+ Flag At City Hall For Pride Month

The activists said they hope nothing like this happens again, but if it does they will continue to repaint Marsha P. Johnson to symbolize her resilience.

The artists are planning to fix the mural on June 17 and 18, but are hoping to raise more money for spray paint. For more information on how you can help, please click here.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.