DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Some graffiti outside JC’s Kitchen in Durham went viral last November.
The spray-painted message took a aim at the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement the day after the 2016 election.
The message angered many Durham residents, but they used that energy to create something beautiful, that they’re calling a “Wall of Love.”
On Sunday, volunteers picked up their paint brushes and went to work.
“When I came in today and I saw this I just began to cry,” said Phyllis Terry, owner of JC’s Kitchen.
On the day after the election, Terry came outside to find hateful language written on the wall next to her restaurant.
“The graffiti read that ‘black lives doesn’t matter neither does their vote’,” said Terry.
Terry says when she got to work that morning and saw the graffiti she decided she’d just deal with it later.
“But not knowing that your camera crew along with some others that passed by and it hit viral before I knew it because I was working all day.” Terry said.
“So, from there were groups coming in who saw it on the television and they came by and read about it.”
Many people in Durham like the Waldrops wanted to find a way to turn a negative into a positive.
They spoke with Terry and together they started a GoFundMe page to raise money to create a mural in place of the graffiti.
“She had the same vision for this wall,” said Andy Waldrop. “That it could be something that brings the community together instead of tearing it apart.”
They enlisted the help of local artist Geraud Station.
“I grew up here, so seeing such a hate-filled thing, first, of course, (it) took me by complete surprise, but what didn’t really take me by surprise was how much the community jumped in and said we aren’t tolerating this,” said Station.
Terry says if it wasn’t for the graffiti, she would never have made so many new friends.
“I had promised you all throughout that we would take what they gave us as a lemon and we made lemonade. So today, we’ve been drinking lemonade and we say ‘toast’,” said Terry.