Group in Fayetteville offers open-minded discussions on racism, plight of African-Americans

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A group of individuals, who started the week protesting in downtown Fayetteville, have now started an art project that looks to bring open-minded discussions on racism in the U.S.

With the permission of a business owner, Joseph Avery and some other people spent Thursday afternoon adding different pieces of art onto plywood covering a local business near the Market House.

RELATED: Downtown Raleigh restaurants paint boards, spread beauty and hope

The idea came to fruition after the group met while holding signs and demanding justice along Hay Street in the last few days.

Mary Lewis, a local Fayetteville resident and black woman, stopped by to add some art and share her pain.

"I'm tired. I have a son, I'm tired," Lewis said.

Lewis spent some time writing the word, "mama", one of George Floyd's last words before his death. She told Avery and other participants how she fears for her and her son's life any time they get stopped by police.

"Every day, I think about that man. And he's laying on the ground and he said, 'please'," Lewis recalled.

Avery, empathizing and listening to Lewis, says he also worries for his son, who is part Puerto Rican.

The Fayetteville Technical Community College student tells ABC11 this opportunity allows people with privilege to learn and have the chance to ask questions.

"Whenever you hear extraordinary truth, it can be something to challenge. It's not something to fear, it's something to approach for a chance of understanding," Avery added.

Lewis says the posters, chants and marches across the country are signs of weary people who really haven't been heard.

"Will you listen to me? We're tired of telling people, 'hey, come over here and listen to what I got to say,'" Lewis exclaimed.

The group's mission may not solve every problem, but they say it can start the healing process with some tears and hugs.

Avery says they intend to meet in downtown Fayetteville for the next several days to continue this project.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.