Woman honors Black impactful figures with 28 murals around Phoenix
PHOENIX — A woman is trying to educate people about Black impactful figures with 28 murals painted across Phoenix, one for each day of Black History Month.
“A lot of times history’s mantle is limited to slavery and to the civil rights, we don’t talk about our inventors,” Gizette Knight, CEO of The Shining Light Foundation, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
Knight in 2020 asked the Phoenix City Council to allow a single Black Lives Matter mural, but that idea was rejected.
A group of community members approached Knight saying the mural still needed to happen in some form.
“The Black kids need to see representation of themselves,” Knight said.
Knight then had the idea to instead paint multiple murals on the walls of local businesses to showcase the Black community’s role in shaping the United States as it is known today, saying the idea came from her seeing the No. 28 continuously reappear, such as when she was driving, watching TV or reading a book.
“I always said this project was divine, I always say this was God-given,” Knight said, adding the idea came to her almost as if it was a prophecy.
Knight then began enlisting the help of local businesses to give up their walls for the project.
As word spread about the project, business owners reached out to her to participate.
“After the buzz got around what I was doing … they just offered their walls to us,” she said.
A prominent business that offered a wall for the project was the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, which now host a mural with current and former Black Valley sports icons including Larry Fitzgerald, Chris Paul, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
“Usually, corporations, they don’t get behind stuff unless there’s value in it,” she said. “So I appreciate them for their partnership and making bold decisions.”
Knight said the distinguishing characteristic of the murals is that they highlight Black people’s contributions to society, such as the mural that depicts breakthroughs in medicine.
Her foundation is expanding the mural project to Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
People can find information on the mural project or donate to the foundation online.