Campaign underway to restore vandalized mural of transgender pioneer Marsha P. Johnson

Elizabeth New Jersey (WABC) -- 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 a young LGBTQ+ 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 and Eyewitness News 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. She was a huge gay rights activist who was a self-identified drag queen and was a key figure in the Stonewall Uprising in 1969.

The group 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 the artist plans to add to it.

"I have something to say, 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," Rolling said.

ALSO READ | How pandemic restrictions gave Kaylee Harris the chance to explore her gender identity
EMBED More News Videos

For Kaylee Harris, working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic offered a unique opportunity to explore her gender identity in a safe place and eventually begin gender-affirming hormone treatment.



----------
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.