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Mural celebrates Belle Glade's deep history

'We're trying to push a mission to come and actually beautify our city,' a resident said
Posted at 11:45 PM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 23:45:24-04

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Colin Walkes grew up in Belle Glade right on 5th street.

"I grew up on the bottom side of 5th Street. All the way down on the end," he said.

His family's roots are deep in the muck. During the 50s and 60s, they came over from Barbados. Once-prosperous sections of Belle Glade have over time turned to blight.

"It saddens me to see the way that it's looking now because we can do better," he said.

Every rebirth has to start somewhere and folks like Robert Mitchell are betting on the unveiling of this mural at the intersection of SW 5th Avenue and SW Avenue C, in the heart of downtown Belle Glade, as a catalyst.

"Why does my city rank #1 poorest city in Florida? Why does my city in the heart of the city still look like a third-world country? And these things I started to ask questions about. So, I said, you know what let me not criticize. Let me try to get involved," he said.

Mitchell said the mural celebrates the community's past while charting a new prosperous future for the muck city communities of not only Belle Glade but South Bay, Pahokee, Harlem, and Clewiston.

Mitchell said he's looking for private and public investment to transform and rebuild his city.

"We're trying to push a mission to come and actually beautify our city, but beautify it with the people that make the city," he said.

Walkes said Belle Glade has been neglected but it's time the community stepped up to revitalize what's theirs.

"This is ours. We have to fix it," he said.