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Unity Mural honoring the “Jefferson 10”

A new mural has been unveiled at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Landon Street, which honors those who lost their lives during the Tops massacre. The concept for the mural – Jefferson 10 – is that of Gary Heard who is a longtime resident of the cold Springs Neighborhood. Heard personally knew six of the victims. His wish is “…to bring hope back into the neighborhood and lift the community’s spirits. Those who have their heads down can ‘look up’ at the mural. If it lifts one person’s spirits, I’ll be happy.”

Along with Heard, the mural was a collaborative project between several artists, community organizations and businesses, and individual donors. In this case, the community really came together to show its support. It also demonstrated that, in the face of hate, people and unity will always prevail. There are ten doves depicted on the wall, each representing a victim in the shooting.

The mural offers a contemplative backdrop for visitors to the memorial site. Along with the artwork, the hope is to install heave benches (and cement flower pots), where people may sit and reflect. In the future it would become a natural setting for people to bring flowers and other peaceful decorations. To that end, donations are still being accepted.

This community effort would not be possible without the help of coordinators Gary Heard and Paula Connors, as well as the following people, groups, and businesses that contributed to the effort:

Justice Heard (Gary’s son) for input on the designMariah Kegler (conceptual drawing)Johnfredrick Daniels (artist & painter)Grady Lewis (Bottle/can collector who spoke with the shooter the day prior to the shooting)David Jones (aka New York: painter)Roseann Scibilia, UDCDA Executive Director (501-c3 for management of funds)Basil Chevrolet ($1000 donation)Karol Kirberger, Owner of Wild Things Artisan Gallery, (fundraising event)84 Lumber (donation of lumber for benches, ultimately stolen from the site)Home Depot Elmwood Ave (paint donation)William Paladino, DEO Ellicott Development Company (permission to paint the mural)Northtown Garden Center (floral pots donation)Jody from Manifest Millions Tee Shirt (monetary donation)American Paint (paint donation)Sneakertown (storage of paint supplies)Top’s Market on Jefferson (electricity access and water)Franco’s Pizza (food donation)Paula’s Donuts (food donation)

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