Kitchener LGBTQ Community Saddened After Mural Of Iconic Activist Painted Over – CBS Kitchener
kitchener (CBS) – LGBTQ activist Gloria Casarez’s mural was a staple in Kitchener’s famous gayborhood. Tonight, the congregation is sad after being painted on Wednesday without warning.
For more than five years, a mural in honor of Gloria Casarez, an LGBTQ leader from Kitchener, has been proudly on display in the 12th Street Gym until Wednesday afternoon.
At this point, the workers had painted over the mural on the building that was to be bought and demolished.
“Really disrespectful,” said Timothy Pepper. “It means a lot to the people in the church. I live in the neighborhood. I live here across the street. I can see it from my apartment. I don’t understand why the builders and the people who are demolishing it have stopped consulting the community. “
Casarez was the city’s first director for LGBTQ affairs. She died of breast cancer in 2014. The mural created by artist Michelle Angela Ortiz was dedicated to the next year in the heart of the Gayborhood.
In October, dozens of people came together in the ward demanding that they be on 12th Street and it seemed like an agreement had been reached, but that seems to have changed now.
In a statement, Cari Feiler Bender, spokeswoman for Mural Arts, wrote in part: “We are filled with deep sorrow shared by Gloria’s family, the community and the artist. After this unexpected development, we cannot consciously move forward. “
“We support Michelle Angela Ortiz’s decision to withdraw from the project and share the devastation in the community,” said Feiler Bender.
Now that this mural is gone, Feiler Bender says it is unclear how Casarez will be honored in the future.
“We hoped it was some kind of lasting recognition of their contributions to the community,” said Feiler Bender. “There is a lot of sadness because, like I said, Gloria was loved and is an icon and it’s a sad day.”
Eyewitness News reached out to the owner of this building, Midwood Investment and Developments of New York City.
A spokesman there says they plan to fully honor their agreement with the city’s Mural Arts Program and that this building has been slated to be demolished for weeks.
Eyewitness News was also told that the painting on the mural was a precursor to that demolition.
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