Metro neighborhood using mural as way to talk with children about racism

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DEER CREEK, Okla. (KFOR) – A metro community is coming together in a colorful way, tagging a fence line with messages of hope for the African American community.

“It grows more every day. I expect for it to cover the entire fence by the end of the week,” said homeowner Cort Thomas.

When a Deer Creek homeowner first asked her neighbor to tag her fence with the message “Black Lives Matter”, she never expect this.

“It kind of took a life of its own,” said homeowner Anitra Thomas.

Colorful chalk now lines the fence line of the Thomas’ home.

The mural started just two days ago and hasn’t stopped growing from there.

“We want this to be an opportunity for our neighbors, our white peers to use this as an opportunity to use their voice to speak out to the injustice that’s going on in our community. Their voices help our voices be louder too,” Anitra said.

Neighbors stopping by to add their own messages to the mural, showing not just support for the Thomas family, but for the entire black community.

“We love our black families. We love our black neighbors. This is just one small way we’ve been able to help propel that,” said neighbor Desiree Kinser.

In a neighborhood full of children, parents also used it to help talk to their kids about racism.

“It also served as a catalyst for an important conversation with my four-year-old,” said neighbor Katherine Smith. “To me, to talk about why we love this family, but also the black community, it was a very natural way to segue that conversation.”

The family is now hopeful it will set an example for other communities.

“To anybody that’s having a conversation with their kids and it’s uncomfortable, that’s what bravery is. That’s what courage is,” Cort said. “Things like this get left unsaid because they’re uncomfortable. So, something like this creates a safe space in which to have the conversation.”

Another neighbor talked with KFOR later on in the day, wanting to share this message with the Thomas family-

“Our street of families is like one big family; we eat dinners together, celebrate holidays together, our kids play together daily. Cort and Anitra are an incredible part of our lives and they have gone out of their way to open up conversations with us to help educate and spread comfort about the topic of race. They don’t HAVE to concern themselves with allowing us to ask questions…but they do. They don’t HAVE to be open to talking to their street of mostly white families to help this movement gain some actual ground…but they do. They have made themselves available as a resource because THEY want to see change. And in turn, help all of US to make changes. We love them and are so proud to know them. Our lives are infinitely better because they are in it.

Love, your neighbors”

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