Jul 30, 2017
ArtStart Creative Director and mural artist Mario Uribe has announced that a revision to the Andy Lopez mural originally unveiled on June 2nd has been completed. The amended segment will be dedicated on Friday, August 4 at 5:30pm, Roseland Village Neighborhood Center, 779 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa.
Mr. Uribe created the three-panel mural to honor 13-year-old Andy Lopez, the Santa Rosa teen who was shot to death in 2013 by Deputy Erick Gelhaus who thought that the toy BB-gun that the boy was carrying was a real AK-47 assault rifle.
Following the event on June 2, which would have been Andy’s 17th birthday, a number of family friends told Mr.Uribe that the Lopez family felt strongly that an image of a deputy with a child on one of the panels was hurtful and inappropriate and that they were very uncomfortable with it. Mr. Uribe agreed to further discussion.
When the group met again, Mr. Uribe heard the sentiments of Sujey Lopez, Andy’s mother, by means of a letter that she had written to him. Others present described the still agonizingly painful situation for both the family and the entire community, which has been systematically marginalized and otherwise ignored by Sheriff’ Steve Freitas ever since Andy’s death. Last year the Sheriff promoted Gelhaus, stating that he “represents the Sheriff’s Office well.”
Mr. Uribe immediately agreed that an image suggested by Ms. Lopez would be ideal to replace the problematic one. “This change that we’re making fulfills the original objective of the mural much better than before, which is to bring a small sense of justice to a tragic event that will never be justified. I hope it will help to heal the family and the community.” The entire community is warmly invited to attend the re-dedication.
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