La Jolla residents complain about Black Lives Matter messages on bike path
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 11/12/20 - 09:00 AM | 5069 views | 7 7 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
People walk their dogs on the Fay Avenue Bike Path where Black Lives Matter messages are written in chalk. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
People walk their dogs on the Fay Avenue Bike Path where Black Lives Matter messages are written in chalk. PHOTO BY DAVE SCHWAB
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Black Lives Matter chalk drawings recently created on the popular Fay Avenue Bike Path between La Jolla Village and Bird Rock have touched off a community controversy over the proper place of politically motivated art in public spaces.

At La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc.’s Oct. 26 meeting, Earl Edwards, athletic director at UC San Diego, was invited to address questions arising from LJPB board members’ comments about the bike path BLM chalk art from a previous meeting. Two board members had questioned the legality of unauthorized chalk art about BLM in the public right-of-way on the bike path. They expressed their personal views that those drawings constituted graffiti, not art while questioning the appropriateness of allowing such politically motivated expression in public places, including rights-of-way.

“At our last meeting, Barbara Bry’s office reported that the legal department had determined that the City would cease erasing BLM chalk art in the public right-of-way on the Fay Avenue Bike path because it was protected by the First Amendment,” said LJPB board president Ann Dynes. “I subsequently received complaints from members of the public contending two of our board members had taken racist positions and calling for their removal. I shared their complaints with those board members and attempted to respond to these complaints. But my explanation was unsatisfactory to those folks (complainants).”

Edwards, director of athletics at UC San Diego since 2000, expressed his views about BLM and its significance to the LJPB board. He noted that a surprising number of things including traffic lights, blood banks, ironing boards, and automatic elevator doors, among others, had all been invented by Black men and women.

Edwards talked about why he became active in speaking out about BLM.

“Unfortunately, it was the murder of George Floyd,” said Edwards. “As a Black man, when I watched him being murdered … that was the time I said, ‘OK. This is it. I’m no longer going to be silent when it comes to racism in our society.’”

Edwards said he was told early on, “I had to be twice as good to get the same opportunities as others, and that the best I could do in a career would be a mechanic.”

Edwards listed several categories in which, he claimed, Black people and other people of color are not being treated equitably.

“Did you know that Black people are two to three times more likely to get pulled over or stopped by police … that a white person is two times as likely as a Black person with the same qualifications to get a job interview … that Black people in hospitals are more likely to not be given more pain medication because of the belief they have a higher (pain) tolerance … or that Black children are more likely to be suspended or expelled from school for the same challenging behavior as white children?”

Concluded Edwards: “I encourage all of you to use your influence to combat racism in our society. Our sphere of influence – friends, family, organizations you belong to, the workplace – is greater than you think. Speak up and educate when it comes to racism. I encourage all of you to examine your own biases and consider where they come from. I’m confident, if we all do our part to fight racism and social injustice in our society, that we will end up in a better place.”

Comments
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anonymous
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November 14, 2020
As for "starting a conversation", except for this site it seems that most of the conversation is about the chalk, not the issues behind it. For many it's an 'in your face' imposition. And there's no comparison with taking a knee: the athletes were public and showed real courage (especially Kaepernick, who lost his career); the "artist(s)" is/are anonymous or at least unknown to the casual passerby. They risk nothing. Frankly it can be seen as an exercise in so-called 'virtue signaling': put up a message and leave the area. If someone were physically present with a sign, or passing out literature, it would indicate a real commitment.

And, as I pointed out earlier, there are thousands of groups who could put their messages on the walkway. Every one of those groups believes that their messages are worthwhile. The result would be an ugly mess and none of the messages would receive any real attention.
BGDavis
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November 14, 2020
Sorry, wrote the above and hit enter without a name.
BGDavis
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November 13, 2020
I am totally in agreement with BLM and with Mr. Edwards comments. But that isn't really relevant. There are thousands of groups who could put their messages on the walkway. Every one of those groups believes that their messages are worthwhile. The result would be an ugly mess and none of the messages would receive any real attention.

There's nothing racist about wanting to enjoy nature without being bombarded with messages and slogans from whatever source.

The good news for those who don't like it is that chalk doesn't last forever.
Mike W
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November 13, 2020
The BLM movement is not a political issue, it is a human rights issue that extends way beyond politics.As a middle-aged white man I have realized that I have enjoyed freedoms and privileges that were distorted for, or just not available to, my black colleagues. Next time you see this chalk art, remember this. Then talk to a black person and listen to how different their lives are because of their color.
Jason E
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November 13, 2020
...this.
BGDavis
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November 13, 2020
Agreed. Sadly, seeing slogans on the sidewalk isn't going to wake anyone up, and those who already got the message don't need to see it anyway. What is the ostensible purpose of the chalk? It's not going to enlighten anyone, and it gives those who are dismissive of BLM and similar movements an excuse to resist even more. The bottom line should always be: what result are you trying/expecting to achieve?
Pat G
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November 13, 2020
Sadly, seeing slogans on the sidewalk isn't going to wake anyone up......but it did start a conversation. Much like the pro athlete's taking a knee was meant to bring the issue to the forefront, and for that, these men were spat upon. If we can agree that being gently nudged to start a conversation is certainly a better option than rioting in the streets, then I say you enjoy the chalk art which isn't hurting any person or personal property but is accomplishing the artists goal of starting a conversation with hopes of eventually leading to productive change.
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