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Volunteers Help Remove Destroyed Mural Outside Fargo Immigrant Business Center - InForum

FARGO — Dozens of volunteers arrived at the immigrant business center here on Sunday, Sept. 18 to remove hate speech spray-painted on a mural outside the building.

Trolls promoting a white supremacist group known as “Patriot Front” have appeared around Fargo for the third time since July. On Sept. 4, the International Market Plaza at 1345 Main Avenue, home to about 17 immigrant-owned businesses, was hit with stencil spray paint on a mural outside the building.

Volunteers who showed up on Sunday began by removing the damaged murals. This is hard work on a warm late summer afternoon. Other volunteers cleaned up narrow sidewalks along Maine Avenue and pulled weeds out of cracks.

Once the mural was completed, volunteers began painting the Main Avenue side of the International Market Plaza.

The Patriot Front is a white supremacist hate group formed after the deadly “Unite the Light” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

One of the damaged murals before being demolished at the International Market Plaza on Main Avenue on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

CS Hagen/The Forum

The Fargo Police Department reported that an investigation into the vandalism is ongoing.

But since the vandalism at the International Market Plaza, the artist who painted the first mural has promised to restore the painting, said Fowzia Adde, executive director of the Center for Immigration and Development, the organization that owns the building. says.

“I see all the communities here. I see the Latina community.

“This means we are on the right track. It means that something like this will never happen again,” Ade said.

Fargo Police Officer Vincent Kemp, who is also a Cultural Liaison Officer, while volunteers help clean up at the International Market Plaza on Sunday, September 18, 2022.jpg

Fargo Police Officer Vincent Kemp, who is also a cultural liaison officer, while volunteers help clean up at the International Market Plaza on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

CS Hagen/The Forum

Barry Nelson, a member of the Fargo Human Rights Commission, called the vandalism a “meaningless evil” and said Sunday afternoon’s scene showed the community coming together.

“There is nothing more debilitating than seeing senseless, hateful acts in a community, but this turns something horrible into something beautiful,” Nelson said.

Abdiwalli Sharif, owner of the Moonlight Grocery and Cafe on Main Avenue, provided volunteers with meals including rice, chicken legs, salads and samosas.

“We are a community and we need to support each other. We need to be there for each other,” Sharif said.

Andy Maus, director of the Plains Art Museum, said plans were underway to restore the damaged murals.

“Some of these pieces were made at the Plains Art Museum. I’m here anyway, but my son also contributed to one of the paintings. The community doesn’t support this,” said Maus. says.

By late Sunday afternoon, a GoFundMe account aimed at equipping the building with outdoor surveillance cameras had so far raised $3,735 from its goal of $15,000.

Fargo City of Equity Diversity and Inclusion Director Fowzia Adde and Terry Hogan discuss cleanup efforts on Sunday, September 18, 2022.

On Sunday, September 18, 2022, Fargo’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officers, Fowzia Adde and Terry Hogan, discuss cleanup efforts.

CS Hagen/The Forum

In July, graffiti was spotted on the Patriot front at the Red Raven Espresso Parlor, which is moving to a new location, and similar stickers were seen throughout downtown.

In August, a Patriot Front red, white, and blue stencil sign appeared on a pedestrian walkway running under Interstate 94 south of 94th Street.

In early September, tenants of the Woodrow Wilson apartments near downtown Fargo found a flyer of the group in their car.