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Recent Vandalism Brings Community Together


In late June, the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center in Springfield, which has served the city’s Black community for decades, was vandalized with phallic symbols and racial slurs. The building and sign were marked up with bright colored paint. Since then, the community has come together to support the center, located near Silver Springs Park.

Mark Dixon, president of the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center, says, through monetary donations and with the help of volunteers, they have been cleaning up the damage.

"Although it was, you know, ill-intended, it has had some great consequences and we’re developing new relationships out of it, and new collaborations out of it, and so that’s going to keep us moving forward for sure,” Dixon said.

The building has served multiple purposes for Springfield’s Black community for 100 years. It has been a hospital, a convalescent home and a daycare, but Dixon says it is much more than those things to the community. The building currently serves as a spot for language and family literacy classes and hosts community groups that need a place to meet.

An investigation into the vandalism continues.