Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, bottom photo contributed via email, top four photos from a flickr account.
Earlier this week, residents in Willard-Hay woke up to see an entire block covered in explicit gang graffiti. The level of arrogance and stupidity on display here is astounding, and matched only by the physical and psychological damage the tagging was intended to inflict.
"RIP Bow Wow" most likely refers to Ray'jon Gomez, the troubled youth who was fatally shot this summer. While this should not be the only thing we remember about Gomez, his family's connections to criminal and gang activity are extensively documented on Johnny Northside. The actions of these thugs does nothing to help the community remember a child in a more positive light.
The "Larry Hoover" tags refer to the gangster who started the Gangster Disciple Nation, or GDN, as well as the Folk Nation and Black Disciples (the BD tag). The 7-4-14 tag refers to the corresponding letters G, D, and N. Hoover went to prison for his gang activities, and then in the most transparent attempt at misleading brand identification since "Kentucky Good Chicken," claimed that G and D now stood for "growth and development." He was reformed and was calling on his fellow gang members to follow his lead.
Except that he wasn't really reformed. The good behavior was just a pretense to get him out of prison early and none of the proceeds from the "Growth and Development" charity work ever went to anyone in need. He was caught resuming his illegal activities and is now serving a life sentence.
About a year ago, a friend's cousin moved into NoMi and had never been to Minneapolis before. She immediately thought of north Minneapolis as the part of town that was safer than south, because of the relative lack of gang graffiti we have here. When incidents like this happen, residents should be diligent about filing community impact statements. Doing that will help the judge hand down a more appropriate sentence if and when these thugs get caught.
CM Samuels is working with the community to assist with a response, and a local organization, Asian Media Access, has also offered to reach out to youth in the area and give them a more positive outlet for their energy. People across NoMi are already asking what they can do to help as well.