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Beloved mural of trailblazing Stonewall legend Marsha P Johnson defaced by thugs

Josh Milton June 12, 2021
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A mural of Marsha P Johnson in a street underpass

A mural of Marsha P Johnson was vandalised in Elizabeth, New Jersey. (Screen capture via News12)

A beloved mural of Stonewall legend and trans trailblazer Marsha P Johnson has been vandalised in New Jersey, US.

In Elizabeth, where Johnson was born, a sprawling monument was painted by three local artists under the New Jersey Turnpike overpass last year, becoming the first LGBT+ person in history to be honoured with a monument in her home state.

Organisers said they hoped LGBT+ youth in the city would be inspired by the mural, which depicts Johnson wearing her iconic flower crown against a trans Pride flag.

The names of countless queer Black legends, such as James Baldwin and Audre Lorde, are written to the side of her.

But locals were stunned to discover that the face of Johnson, once smiling at passersby, has been smeared with red paint.

The People’s Committee of Elizabeth, a nonprofit that fought to have the mural made, told New Jersey News12 that with the mural daubed, a sense of heartbreak and frustration has swept the city.


“Marsha P Johnson is literally the embodiment of Elizabeth, in my opinion,” said Priscilla Gaona, a member of the committee.

“There are so many women in Elizabeth who live Marsha’s life… We have to protect our Black trans women,” Priscilla Gaona, a member of the committee, told the outlet.

“A lot of us hold that rage in Elizabeth. Marsha’s legacy really teaches us how to execute the rage in a beautiful way.”

Now, organisers are rallying to raise funds to restore the mural, one that, frankly, unsurprised was targeted by vandals in the first place.

Efforts to restore the mural will take place during the city’s Pride celebrations, with Union County officials working to create another monument to immortalise the key figure in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

Johnson was a pioneering activist who soared to become an enduring vanguard of the LGBT+ rights movements.

A vibrant and well-known character in New York City’s Greenwich Village, she tirelessly strived to support queer folk experiencing homeless and those living with HIV.

Related topics: Marsha P Johnson, New Jersey, Stonewall

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