ALBANY — One of Albany’s most vibrant streets was painted Tuesday to commemorate the Black Lives Matter movement.
The words “Black Lives Matter” appear in giant yellow lettering across almost the entire Lark Street, in a move by the city of Albany requested by the advocacy group In Our Own Voices. The markings across one of Albany’s busiest and most diverse neighborhood streets on Tuesday was part of the local response to the death of George Floyd, a black man, who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s funeral was Tuesday in Houston, where he grew up.
Floyd’s death on May 25 has sparked two weeks of massive street protests across the country, including demonstrations in Albany and many other Capital Region cities. The movement also has led to legislative efforts at the state Capitol to reform policing, including bills passing in the state Assembly and Senate this week to ban chokeholds and repeal a state civil rights law that shields police disciplinary records from public view.
The giant block lettering painted on Lark Street between Hudson and Lancaster streets is as wide as the street, most easily seen in whole with an aerial camera like a drone.
Tandra LaGrone, chief executive officer of In Our Own Voices, said the group thought it was important for the message to be painted in a diverse and well-traveled neighborhood like Lark Street, rather than in a majority-black neighborhood like Arbor Hill, where she said people already know that black lives matter. She also thanked Mayor Kathy Sheehan and other city officials for allowing the slogan.
The giant lettering is similar to the style that Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser authorized having painted on a section of 16th Street near the White House late last week. She authorized the lettering following days of Black Lives Matter protests near the White House. The section of 16th Street in the nation’s capital has also been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said a street in that city will also be given similar treatment.
In Our Own Voices, which has an office on Lark Street, works to ensure the physical, mental, spiritual, political, cultural and economic survival and growth of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color.
“We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement,” LaGrone said.