Black Lives Matter mural in Gatineau was vandalized, artist says

Meredith Jay believes the vandalism of her mural and her encounter with a man who she says claimed to have defaced it shows racism continues to exist in the community.

Meredith Jay says 'All Lives Matter' was painted over the mural in Parc Belmont

Meredith Jay said she had to repaint the mural she installed on a Gatineau, Que., graffiti wall after it was defaced with the phrase 'All Lives Matter.' (Boris Proulx/Radio-Canada)

An artist says her Black Lives Matter mural in Gatineau, Que., was defaced and she was threatened by the alleged vandal as she tried to repaint it.

Meredith Jay designed the mural on a designated graffiti wall in Parc Belmont in the city's Aylmer sector three weeks ago.

She told Radio-Canada that on June 24, she noticed someone had painted the slogan "All Lives Matter" — a phrase often used to criticized the Black Lives Matter movement — over her work.

Jay said as she was repainting the mural late that night, she was approached by a man claiming to be the vandal.

She said the man had a baseball bat and a dog on a leash. She said he threatened to let his dog attack her and her friends.

Meredith Jay said that as they repainted the mural, they were confronted by a man who claimed he'd carried out the original damage. (Radio-Canada)

"He used his baseball bat on my paintings," said Jay. "I was fearing for my safety. I was fearing for the safety of the Black community in Gatineau, for the people of colour who live here."

Jay contacted Gatineau police after the incident. She returned to the park the next day to continue repainting the mural.

Gatineau police could not confirm on the weekend if they had investigated or had made any arrests.

Racism 'not being addressed'

Jay believes it was important to repaint her message and that the vandalism shows racism is still prevalent in the community.

"It's been plaguing this country. It's been plaguing this province particularly, and it's not being addressed properly," she said.

"We have a lot of Haitians, a lot of Africans, Blacks from the Caribbean. They deserve respect and a Black Lives Matter mural that says, 'We stand with you, you are not alone against the systemic racism."

With files from Radio-Canada's Boris Proulx