Hate crime prompts healing mural project in Gresham - KPTV - FOX 12

Hate crime prompts healing mural project in Gresham

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Drawing of the mural. (KPTV) Drawing of the mural. (KPTV)
Larnell Malik Bruce (Photo: Gresham Police Department) Larnell Malik Bruce (Photo: Gresham Police Department)
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

Months after a horrible hate crime shook a community, a local group is undertaking a project that would bring peace and healing to those affected.

The Gresham Youth Advisory Committee's (YAC) goal is to change the perception people have of the city, so that it's no longer associated with the violent crime.

YAC is a group of high school students, and they're pairing up with local artists and the Gresham City Council to create a mural that promotes unity and healing in their community.

Back in August, Larnell Malik Bruce, 19, was killed in a racially-motivated attack. He was run over after a fight near the 7-Eleven on East Burnside and Northeast 188th Avenue.

Investigators say the driver was Russell Courtier. They say Courtier had ties to the white supremacist group called European Kindred.

According to investigators, Courtier initially admitted to running Bruce over on purpose with his Jeep but he later pleaded not guilty to murder in court.

After Bruce's death, members of the community began writing messages of sympathy on the wall of the 7-Eleven.

YAC, owners of the 7-Eleven and the Rosewood Initiative have partnered to replace those messages with a permanent mural. The mural depicts a tree with many roots and is meant to represent the growth people in Gresham have experienced since the crime happened.

"We wanted to show what we think Gresham is, which is unified and we're going to rise up. This shouldn't represent Gresham as a city," said Alyssa Hipes, a member of YAC.

The committee plans to complete the mural on November 4.

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