Swastikas Found on George Floyd Mural at Ohio University

July 8, 2020
HOUSTON, TEXAS – JUNE 08: Joshua Broussard kneels in front of a memorial and mural that honors George Floyd at the Scott Food Mart corner store in Houston’s Third Ward where Mr. Floyd grew up on June 8, 2020 in Houston, Texas. The funeral and burial for George Floyd will be held June 9. Floyd died on May 25th while in Minneapolis police custody, sparking nationwide protests. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Multiple swastikas were found on a mural of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery at Ohio University (OU) in Athens on July 1.

The Cleveland Jewish News reported that the swastikas were painted in red on the foreheads of images of Floyd and Arbery, both Black men; Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 and Arbery died in a confrontation with two white men on Feb. 23 in Georgia. Both men were unarmed when they died.

Additionally on the mural, an “SS” symbol was painted on the forehead of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was shot and killed during a police raid on her apartment on March 13 in Kentucky. The SS was a paramilitary organization in Nazi Germany.

The words, “Welcome to Athens Now Leave” also were painted on behind the mural.

Anti-Defamation League Cleveland Regional Director James Pasch and Senior Associate Director Sara Scheinbach said in joint statement with OU Hillel Executive Director Sarah Livingston, “We know all too well that hate speech doesn’t stop with speech, it can grow and deepen and turn into real world violence. We stand unified in our condemnation of this hateful graffiti, and in our work to fight hatred and bigotry.”

They added: “We are actively working to connect with University administration and community leaders to prevent an escalation of racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric on campus and in our community. Ohio University is better than this; Ohio is better than this.”

A swastika had been found on the same mural at OU on June 13. The university condemned the swastika in a June 15 statement.

“Anti-Semitism is not tolerated on our campuses and does not reflect our strong commitment to diversity and inclusion,” the statement read. “We condemn anti-Semitism and all bigotry as a direct contradiction of our values.”

In April, 11 swastikas were found on a separate wall at OU; the campus Hillel painted over them with messages of love.

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