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GoFundMe Launches After MLK ‘I Have A Dream’ Memorial Vandalized In Denver

Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Vandalism

Lessie Howard, professional videographer/photographer who volunteers with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, at the MLK Jr. monument which was vandalized in City Park Denver, Colorado on February 21, 2024. Vandals stole a bronze panel depicting Black Americans who fought in U.S. wars and two decorative bronze emblems, one next to an engraving of the monument’s title. | Source: Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Getty

We’re nearing the end of Black History Month and, unfortunately, we just couldn’t get through it without someone vandalizing a statue erected to commemorate one of America’s most renowned civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

According to CBS News, an MLK “I Have a Dream” memorial in Denver, Colorado, was vandalized overnight earlier this week and discovered Wednesday morning with visible damage, and, most noticeably, a missing 200-pound bronze plaque.

Also missing from the statue, which resides in Denver’s City Park, is a pair of bronze torches that accompanied the plaque, which referenced a period during slavery when Black soldiers were fighting in wars for a country that regarded us as property, not human. (The plaque didn’t say all that, but, well, y’all know.)

University of Denver alum Edward Dwight, the artist who designed the statue, called the senseless vandalism “an absolute disaster and heartbreaking.”

“It’s not so much the physical part of it, but it’s kind of the spiritual part for me that somebody would violate this thing… and for what?” asked Dwight, who told CBS that, unfortunately, the molds for the plaques on the statue no longer exist. He also noted that he has created 132 Black memorials around the country and about a quarter of them have been vandalized.

Last month, a statue of Jackie Robinson was cut off at the ankles and stolen from McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas, only to be found in a garbage can dismantled and burned the next day. After arresting one of the suspected thieves, authorities determined there was no evidence to suggest racism was the motivation for the crime, but rather the thieves stole the statue to sell it for scrap metal. Regardless of what investigators say, it’s just really difficult to believe a group of resentful racists didn’t decide to lynch Robinson’s statue out of spite. And it’s no different for the MLK memorial.

As for the MLK statue, a GoFundMe page was set up by former Denver mayor Wellington Webb to repair the damage and replace the missing pieces. Organizers for the fundraiser included on the page the following statement:

“We’re devastated to report that the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Denver’s City Park was vandalized on Tuesday night (2/20), resulting in the theft of several pieces of the marble and bronze “I Have a Dream” memorial. Among the missing pieces are a bronze torch and angel, as well as a bronze panel honoring Black military veterans. Honorable Wilma Webb, a champion for civil rights who played a pivotal role in establishing the MLK Jr. Holiday in 1984, chaired the committee responsible for bringing this memorial to life. Collaborating with artist Ed Dwight in 2002, they created a poignant tribute featuring a bronze statue of King alongside smaller statues commemorating Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass. In response to this tragic event, Wilma and Wellington Webb, both esteemed figures in our community, have come together to launch this GoFundMe page. Their joint efforts aim to raise funds for repairs and bolster security measures in the area. Your generous support will not only help restore this significant monument but also ensure its protection for generations to come. Let’s unite to preserve Dr. King’s legacy and uphold the values of peace, justice, and equality that he stood for.”

Meanwhile, a $2,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the discovery of the vandals responsible for the theft and damage. Anyone with any information about the vandalism to the statue is urged to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-7867 – (720) 913-STOP.


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