Banners in downtown San Diego display message of inclusion, support for Black Lives Matter movement

San Diego artist Anthony Tyson holds one of the banners he designed to showcase support for the Black Lives Matter movement
San Diego artist Anthony Tyson designed banners for the nonprofit Downtown San Diego Partnership to showcase support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The banners are located on Broadway from Third Avenue to Kettner Boulevard.
(Courtesy of the Downtown San Diego Partnership)

The banners are located on Broadway from Third Avenue to Kettner Boulevard


All Black lives matter.

That’s the message San Diego-artist Anthony Tyson seeks to highlight with his new art installation of banners along downtown San Diego’s main thoroughfare.

“When you hear Black Lives Matter a lot of people think the Black man who is being knocked down by police brutality,” Tyson said. “Not the Black woman, the LGBT community (or) someone who had a felony ... all Black lives matter.”

The banners highlight that no matter what gender, age or preference everyone deserves respect and “All Black Lives Matter.” Each banner displays a different photo: a Black man, a Black woman with her head tilted upwards, a Black man with a child.

The project is from the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit that represents nearly 400 businesses in the area. The banners are located along Broadway between Third Avenue and Kettner Boulevard.

The banners went up on Aug. 7 and will remain on display for several months, according to Sean Warner, director of community enhancement with the nonprofit.

Warner said the banners provide an opportunity to engage diverse communities that are not always seen or given a platform.

Tyson grew up in Georgia and moved to San Diego six years ago. The 26-year-old recently developed an interest in graphic design and started a clothing line.

He said the banner project provided an opportunity to encourage people to have inclusive conversations around the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tyson chose bright colors for the banners to draw attention to the images and the words. He selected the photographs on display because they reminded him of his family and personal life experiences.

He said an image of a man looking straight ahead is a representation of his father, who grew up during the civil rights movement. When Tyson was a child, his father often told him to avoid focusing on the past and to instead look forward to his future.

He selected the image of a Black woman with her head tilted upwards because the stories and voices of Black women are often not shared in the mainstream narrative of social justice, he said.

He points to the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and emergency medial worker who was shot by police officers inside her Kentucky apartment.

Taylor’s death occurred nearly two months before George Floyd, a Black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. Floyd’s death sparked hundreds of protests across the country demanding an end to police brutality.

The banners are located on Broadway from Third Avenue to Kettner Boulevard. (Courtesy of the Downtown San Diego Partnership)
(Handout/San Diego Union-Tribune)

“It still mind boggling that nothing is being done,” Tyson said, of Taylor’s case. “It seems like with the Black woman that same reciprocation that we need when police brutality and injustice happens is not happening for the Black women.”

The image of the man with a child is a representation of the future generations, he said.

Betsy Brennan, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said the banners have received overwhelming positive feedback on social media and by members of the partnership.

She said the project is a short-term way to celebrate diversity and inclusion as the organization works to foster cultural vibrancy through creating public spaces that meet the needs of community members and special projects.

Back in June, the Downtown San Diego Partnership committed to reaching out to historically underrepresented communities, investing in staff, cultivating a diverse board and membership base, creating cultural vibrancy through special projects and assisting employees by participating in calls for social justice.

“The more welcoming we can be to residents in San Diego, and the more they see themselves in downtown, the more vibrant we can be as a community,” she said.