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Holden on Mural Controversy

November 06, 1994

The Times printed articles concerning a controversial mural saluting the Black Panthers on Oct. 27 and Oct. 29. On Oct. 28, the Los Angeles City Council voted 7-3 against a motion I brought up calling for the relocation of that mural, which had been planned for a wall at 11th and Jefferson. I want to publicly thank Councilmen Rudy Svorinich and Marvin Braude for voting with me on this important matter.

The mural is titled "To Protect and Serve" and it depicts the glorification of guns and also shows the Ku Klux Klan putting a noose around a black man's neck. It is inflammatory and negative and creates a hostile environment. It creates the impression that blacks have only two alternatives in life, as victims or vigilantes. We're not going to generate a city of love, a city of the angels, we're forging an atmosphere of anger and intimidation at a time when we need to unite the diverse community of Los Angeles. To illustrate my point, I said that we shouldn't yell fire in a crowded theater. To show our feelings opposing censorship would we allow a mural promoting Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, or any other hate group? We shouldn't be active participants in something that creates negative images and fosters antagonism in the community. It is especially the wrong message to send to young people who we hope will someday become productive citizens.

All 15 members of the City Council should reflect the needs and desires of our communities. What do our constituents want? What are they against? I took the responsible stand. I opposed glorifying violence and guns as a solution to oppression. The mural motto "To Protect and Serve" is a misnomer. It is a meaningful slogan of a city police department dedicated to helping the community and not a motto of vigilante justice.

NATE HOLDEN

Councilman, Tenth District

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