A billboard campaign honoring police officers that started in Memphis, Tennessee, has made its way into Michigan: a campaign stating that Blue Lives Matter.
A branding agency called Tactical Magic originally created the Blue Lives Mater campaign to honor local police. Lamar Advertising, a firm based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, joined in and donated more than 150 billboards nationwide to the cause.
The billboards also include hashtags for the campaign: #thankublu.
On Oct. 5, the first Blue Lives Mater billboard was lit in Grand Rapids, Michigan, along I-98 westbound.
“I think in some aspects it’s shameful that the brand is being co-opted, but once again it was never meant to say ‘only black lives matter,’” Darel Ross, co-executive director of LINC Community Revitalization Inc., said.
Ross added that belittling the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t add to the relationship between officers and the black community. Ross noted that while he understands the message, he wishes it was more intentional.
“All lives matter right?” Ross said. “So that’s why we came to the table in a very I think civil and sober manner with local law enforcement here to say how can we actually work together to improve community police relations."
Ross has been a long time contributor to the Grand Rapids' community plan to soften relationships between police and citizens. The plan includes building transparency like using body cameras and implicit bias training.
Photo Credit: Instagram