ELIZABETH, New Jersey -- A campaign is underway to restore a vandalized mural that honors a transgender activist.
The mural of Marsha P. Johnson was created in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, but someone painted over it in what activists call an act of hate.
Malcom Rolling painted the mural, and members of an LGBTQ+ youth group that organized the first Pride march in Elizabeth last year made the murals the focal point.
The group is called The People's Committee of Elizabeth (TPCOE). Sister station WABC-TV in New York talked to one founding member, Priscilla Goana, who is in Hawaii right now.
"This is just a huge, huge slap in the face," Goana said.
She says plans and fundraising are in the works to repaint the mural because it's clearly needed.
"It's targeted - it's hatred and we don't want that here," said TPCOE activist Katherine Justiniano.
"This is a clear sign of transphobia, homophobia and racism," TPCOE co-founder Natalie Hernandez said.
Johnson was 46 when she died in 1992 and was decades ahead of her time. The self-identified drag queen was a pioneering gay rights activist and a key figure in the Stonewall Uprising in 1969.
TPCOE is raising money on Instagram, Venmo and GoFundMe.
About $1,500 is needed just for the paint to reimagine what was once there, plus what the artist plans to add.
"I have something to say," Rolling said. "Like I said, I'm a little furious, and I have something to say. And I want to be able to add to the mural to make it more robust."
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