The City of Victoria asked the organizer behind a mural in Bastion Square to removed the acronym A.C.A.B. from one of the letters. The mural reads, “More Justice, More Peace,” in a call for progress on racism and violence. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

The City of Victoria asked the organizer behind a mural in Bastion Square to removed the acronym A.C.A.B. from one of the letters. The mural reads, “More Justice, More Peace,” in a call for progress on racism and violence. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria votes to remove ‘ACAB’ from Bastion Square mural

Date of removal is unknown as dialogues continue

Victoria council plans to remove the acronym ACAB – known to mean all cops are bastards – from a mural painted in Bastion Square.

During the Oct. 16 committee meeting, Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe brought the motion forward, seconded by Coun. Geoff Young, asking council to facilitate further dialogue among the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island, the artists, staff and the police while removing the acronym at the earliest possible opportunity.

The mural, depicting the words More Justice More Peace, was painted in mid-August after the death of George Floyd sparked massive protests across the world. Within days of the mural being painted, the issue of the acronym was brought up by members of the community.

The motion states some people considered the letters to be a hate message, and that council has received a letter from the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island – one of the main sponsors – expressing their discomfort with the acronym.

READ ALSO: BIPOC artists come together to paint mural highlighting racial injustice in Bastion Square

VicPD Chief Del Manak said the acronym counters the spirit of the mural itself and called it disrespectful to the members of the department.

After a lengthy debate, council agreed to an amendment brought forward by Coun. Jeremy Loveday, that the City of Victoria formally recognizes the prevalence of systemic racism in Victoria both as an organization and as a community. Loveday’s amendment adds that the city will commit to addressing and undoing systemic racism everywhere it exists.

READ ALSO: Controversial Victoria mural vandalized

Thorton-Joe said she had considered bringing this motion forward at various points prior to Thursday, adding that she felt council had let staff walk a “tight rope” and wanted council to take more responsibility in the decision.

Since the issue of the acronym was first raised, discussions between city staff and the artists have been ongoing. Coun. Sharmarke Dubow told council that one of the discussions he had been involved in lasted more than six hours.

Coun. Ben Isitt tried to amend the motion, asking council to postpone the decision to the Oct. 22 committee of the whole meeting to have staff report back on the ongoing dialogue, which did not pass.

The date of the removal is unknown as staff continue to engage with the community and artists. The goal is to have the acronym removed and replaced with something to acknowledge the artist’s experience.

In August of 2018, the City of Victoria removed the statue of John A. Macdonald from outside city hall and replaced it with a plaque. Mayor Lisa Helps said she imagines something similar taking place with the mural.

The issue will be heard in council again next week.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

City of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 164 more overdose calls in Greater Victoria in 2020 than in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria sees increase in overdose calls in 2020

Official says most deaths are in the suburbs, in garages and bedrooms

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on Greater Victoria nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of local hospital nurses

Lisa Love, left, and Dana Livingstone of the Wildlife Advocates Collective want to establish wildlife corridors along Sooke Road. The group wants to start with the new highway reconstruction project between Connie Road and Glinz Lake Road in Sooke. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
How creating wildlife crossings can help deer, bears – and even amphibians

Dana Livingstone knows the dangers wild animals can pose to drivers on… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Vancouver Island not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read