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‘Black Lives Matter’ in Atlantic City will focus on community, mayor says

Black Lives Matter will soon have a prominent place in Atlantic City, the mayor announced Wednesday.
The idea puts a spin on the previous plans by activist Steve Young to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the Boardwalk during a protest planned for Labor Day.
Painting on the Boardwalk is prohibited, Mayor Marty Small noted.
Instead, weeks of discussions have led to a community event set for 2:30 p.m. Friday, where the words will be painted down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in front of the Civil Rights Garden.
A rendering shows the words spanning the full block between Atlantic and Pacific avenues.
Small said he has extended “an olive branch” to Young — with whom he has recently had a somewhat contentious relationship — “and ask him to join us in this great day of unity. Join us on this day of peace.”
The painting will be under the planning of the Atlantic City Arts Association with the supplies provided by Joseph Jingoli and Sons.
The CRDA also is onboard, with plans to have “Black Lives Matter” show electronically on the Convention Center, Wave garage and Boardwalk Hall. It will also be part of the rotation on the screens along the Boardwalk.
“If we’re going to say all lives matter, black lives matter has to be included,” Small said. “That’s the way we’re going to govern. That’s the way we’re going to lead the city to promote inclusion and diversity, as we have.”
Small stressed that the city is supportive of its Police Department and that he glad Atlantic City hasn’t had to deal with many of the problems other places have.
“It’s not about defunding the police,” he said. “We need to support more police for a safer community.”
The location is “apropos,” said Department of Community Affairs Chief of Staff Kim Holmes.
“Dr. King once said, what affects one of us directly affects all of us indirectly,” she said. “So the concerns that Mr. Young is raising directly impacts all of us. This is our community. So, for me, Dr. Kings words echo loud and clear right now.”
Councilman Kaleem Shabazz, who heads the local NAACP, said it was important that the mayor was focusing beyond the words, looking to have a way to have the community come together.
“We want to set the tone and have a meaningful moment,” Small said.

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