A mural dedicated to journalist Lyra McKee has been vandalised in Florida, USA.
A swastika and sniper’s target was accompanied by anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans graffiti on a mural of Lyra.
The author was murdered by a New IRA gunman after being shot to the head during orchestrated rioting by dissident republican rioters against police in Derry’s Creggan area in April 2019.
A clean-up of the mural has since been organised by volunteers at Orlando’s LGBTQ+ Center.
Community activists in Zebra Youth said on social media: “We will not allow the recent vandalism to our building by a hate group to deter us.
“Zebra Youth stands strong in our dedication to empowering LGBTQ+ youth to become healthy, productive, and self-sufficient individuals. We will never allow hate to win!”
The mural was unveiled in 2019 to honour Lyra, who had travelled to Florida in 2017 as part of an international exchange programme in the wake of a mass shooting in Orlando’s LGBT Pulse Nightclub in 2016 in which 49 people were killed.
The mural shows an image of Lyra inside an rainbow-coloured heart with the message “Keep hanging on kid. It’s worth it. I love you” from her letter to her 14-year-old self.
Sarah Gal, executive director at the World Affairs Council of Central Florida, one of the programme’s organisers, met Lyra on the trip and said that she “radiated warmth and kindness”.
Following Lyra’s death Mrs Gal proposed a resolution to the City of Orlando to honour her. When that passed she thought of the mural as a permanent tribute to Lyra.
Lyra had dedicated a TEDx talk at Stormont to the victims of the 2016 nightclub shooting and all LGBT people who died by suicide.Tags: