The city of Philadelphia, along with the rest of the country, is going through turbulent times. The wrongful death of George Floyd has sparked peaceful protests across the country, along with some more violent parties who have been looting and instigating violence. Due to this, many businesses have had to board up their buildings, including Green Soul and SOUTH Jazz Bar — both run by myself, Harry Hayman, and the Bynum Group, a black-owned group of entrepreneurs and restaurant owners in the city.

As you may imagine, the protests and the riots have impacted us in a very direct and personal way. I do not condone the unwarranted killing of black people and strive for a day where Philadelphians and Americans do not have to live in fear of our police system.

With so much negative in the world right now, we are looking for ways to find the positives. We have been in communication with Mural Arts PHL to see how we can turn these boards into murals and pieces of art. The idea would be to have Mural Artists — past, present, and future — bring their expressions to life on these boards on our storefronts as means of bringing some light into what is currently a very dark world.

This idea is one that I — as well as the Bynum Group — am very excited about. All of our endeavors have always been about promoting people’s art and giving people a voice. Turning the signs of despair associated with a boarded-up restaurant into another way of expressing these voices is critical now more than ever, which is what we hope to do with the help of Mural Arts.

Of course, a mural inspires positivity, but making a change requires taking action. In the near future, you can expect to see more acts of philanthropy from me, Harry Hayman, as a hospitality management specialist, a restaurant owner, and, most importantly, a generous human striving for world peace and justice for all. To learn more about some of the things I have planned, feel free to contact me.