The Arthur Ashe monument in Richmond, Virginia was vandalized this week with "White Lives Matter" and "Black Lives Matter" graffiti. And while there haven't been any arrests as of Thursday afternoon, one man was caught on camera spray-painting "White Lives Matter" over "Black Lives Matter" on the Statue. It's unclear he put the original "White Lives Matter" graffiti on the statue, but he explained why he wrote it over "Black Lives Matter."
"Don't all lives matter?" the man said to the person asking him about the graffiti. He went to say "Why is it okay to spray-paint on this statue 'Black Lives Matter' and not 'White Lives Matter' what's the difference? I'm not a racist." The man seemed to be cleaning off all the graffiti. And when asked again about the "White Lives Matter" writing, he replied: "Because they all matter. Everybody matters. He then asks why it's okay to write "Black Lives Matter" and not "White Lives Matter." And when he was asked what his name was, he said "everybody."
Here’s video of him responding to questions about it. Still wondering what exactly he meant when he said “everybody is tired of seeing this shit.” Is that the graffiti or the Ashe statue? pic.twitter.com/eNVgQmbzEV— Chris Suarez (@Suarez_CM) June 17, 2020
It was reported "White Lives Matter" was written on the monument first followed by "Black Lives Matter. Ashe's nephew, David Harris Jr. is not surprised by the vandalism because of what's going on in the country. "I anticipated it would happen just didn't know when," Harris said to WTVR. "[My uncle] would definitely say and urge us to be peaceful and to be honest with our emotions." Harris also said: "We have one particular person who's quite not aware of the history of my uncle and tells me that they still have a particular agenda. The work my uncle did was good."
Ashe's monument sits on Monument Avenue, which also features statues of five figures from the Confederacy. Ashe, who died in 1993, was a Richmond native who made tennis history. He became the first black man to win singles championships at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open. He won a total of 1,085 matches in his career before retiring in 1980. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985 and has a tennis stadium named after him in New York.