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Barack Obama Mural In Andersonville Vandalized: ‘It’s Abhorrent’

The act of vandalism comes as a neighboring Andersonville business is facing boycotts amid accusations of racism.

A mural of President Barack Obama on the side of Candyality in Andersonville was defaced.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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ANDERSONVILLE — An Andersonville mural depicting former President Barack Obama was vandalized over the weekend, one week after a pro-Black Lives Matter chalking demonstration in the neighborhood ended in controversy.

The mural on the side of Candyality at Clark Street and Farragut Avenue was defiled, with someone covering Obama’s face in black spray paint. The remainder of the mural —which includes depictions of Sigmund Freud, Willy Wonka and the Statue of Liberty, was not vandalized.

The vandalism was discovered Sunday and likely occurred early that day or late Saturday, said Sara Dinges, executive director of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. The mural was restored Monday afternoon.

The chamber is working to learn more about the incident, including reviewing nearby security cameras. A police officer was on scene taking a report Monday morning.

“It’s abhorrent,” Dinges said. “We will not stand for this kind of hateful activity in Andersonville.”

Candyality owners said in a statement that they were “devastated” to learn of the mural’s defacing.

“This act is an affront not only to us but to the inclusive community of Andersonville in Chicago,” they said. “We support and encourage the chalk protests that have recently occurred in the neighborhood including those who have chalked our walls and sidewalk in support of Black Lives Matter and other social injustices.

“We hope that the coward(s) that defaced our wall will come forward instead of standing behind their spray cans, so that we can have a mature discussion on how to love more and hate less.”

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
The mural was restored to its original design Monday.

The vandalism comes a week after a chalking demonstration against police killings ended with police being called to the area and accusations of racism lobbed against Clark Street shop owners.

During the demonstration, the owner of Brimfield antique shop called police on participants and erased messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The incident led neighbors to highlight past social media comments by Brimfield’s owner that have attacked the movement.

Brimfield’s co-owner apologized for calling police and said they would work to correct problematic behavior, though some neighbors still are calling for boycotts and future demonstrations.

Two storefronts north of Brimfield is Candyality, the local candy store chain that opened an Andersonville location in 2015. The shop used its location on the corner of Clark and Farragut to put up a mural featuring famous people professing love for candy or Chicago.

That includes a depiction of Obama holding a sign saying “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Currently, the mural also is adorned with calls for justice for George Floyd and other slogans seeking the end of systemic racism in America. The chalk slogans were put up during last weekend’s demonstration were undisturbed.

Dan Luna, chief of staff to Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), visited the mural Monday morning, inspecting the damage to see if it could be easily removed. A private company was contracted to remove the vandalism, Dinges said.

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