BLM: Salisbury ‘will be on the right side of history’

A sign declaring Broad Street as Black Lives Matter Boulevard was unveiled Friday.

Salisbury officials on Friday unveiled a sign declaring Broad Street as Black Lives Matter Boulevard, a move that City Administrator Julia Glanz said is just one step on the way to permanent change.

“For far too long, government at every level has stood silently watching movements come and movements go, preferring not to take positions of alienating one side or another,” she said. “Not here, not in Salisbury. This city will be on the right side of history and we won’t fear alienating those who choose hate over equality.”

Although Salisbury experienced racial divisions and strife over the years, including a riot on Lake Street in the 1960s, Glanz said that time is past.

“Their prejudice won’t be allowed to define this community again,” she said.

During a half-hour ceremony Friday morning, Glanz said Broad Street was chosen because it is the location of the Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center, that once housed the black congregation of the John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church and where abolitionist, writer and statesman Frederick Douglass once spoke.

Broad Street also is part of what was once a black neighborhood that was razed when Route 50 was built, which Glanz called “the ultimate injustice.”

Kevin Lindsey, the city’s Neighborhood Relations Manager, said he harbors some anger because naming a street Black Lives Matter “shouldn’t even be necessary.”

Even as an adult, Lindsey said his mother still tells him to be careful when he leaves the house, and now he has discussions with his own children about how to interact with police officers.

Demetria Leonard of Salisbury and her granddaughter, Jhane Ivey, attend the ceremony to rename Broad Street as Black Lives Matter Boulevard.

“I’m angry because I have to have these conversations,” he said.

Glanz said the Black Lives Matter movement is not about politics, instead it’s about human rights, and she challenged people who like to stress that all lives matter.

“They’re not wrong, but they’re missing the point,” she said. “Black lives do matter – it’s not something that’s open to debate.”

From left, Peninsula Regional Health System President and CEO Steve Leonard, PRHS Chief Operating Officer Cindy Lundsford, and Bradley Gillis and Palmer Gillis of Gills Gilkerson.

In addition to the new street sign at the corner of Poplar Hill Avenue, artist Paul Boyd who recently completed a mural on Route 13 at Church Street, painted Black Lives Matter on the sidewalk between the Chipman Center and the Boundless Playground. After the ceremony, children and adults were invited to add their own artwork and remarks in chalk.

Salisbury joins other cities such as Washington, D.C., in creating Black Lives Boulevards following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers that has spurred weeks of demonstrations across the country.

The movement that has grown out of the mostly peaceful protests also prompted Wicomico County officials on June 12 to remove a historical marker from the courthouse lawn honoring Confederate Gen. John Henry Winder.

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