Family offers to repaint defaced ‘BLM’ sign in Orange

  • Jay Drake, center, and his two children, Kaia, 12, and Aiden, 14, showed up at the house of Mike Magee and Constance Pike on Aug. 26 to ask permission to repaint the couple’s Black Lives Matter sign, which had yet again been defaced. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Jay Drake and his two children, Kaia, 12, and Aiden, 14, showed up at the house of Mike Magee and Constance Pike on Aug. 26 to ask permission to repaint the couple’s Black Lives Matter sign, which had yet again been defaced. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Mike Magee and Constance Pike’s defaced Black Lives Matter sign before Jay Drake and his two children, Kaia, 12, and Aiden, 14, showed up on Aug. 26 to ask permission to repaint it. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/14/2021 5:32:19 PM

ORANGE — Mike Magee and Constance Pike hadn’t planned on touching their “Black Lives Matter” sign after it had been defaced for the umpteenth time, feeling it exemplified their point that racism is alive in Orange. But this changed when Jay Drake and his two children, Aiden and Kaia, showed up unexpectedly to offer to repaint it.

“The father asked if they could paint the sign and they came with a ladder, paintbrushes, everything,” Pike recounted.

Attempts to contact the Drake family were unsuccessful, though Pike said Aiden is 14 and Kaia is 12.

The 8-by-4-foot sign near Route 2’s Exit 67 is across the street from the property where Magee and Pike live. It was most recently defaced on Aug. 1, when it was splattered with orange paint, but Magee estimates the sign had been defaced at least a dozen other times in the past. The sign had previously had used motor oil smeared onto it and it has been painted over with the words “All Lives Matter,” a common rebuke of “Black Lives Matter.”

Magee said he answered the door when the Drakes stopped by and was delighted by the offer.

“I was just dumbstruck, with joy. It was such a wonderful gesture,” he said. “They painted over it. It was so beautifully done. They did it better than I could have imagined. It was very meaningful.”

Magee and Pike have reported the vandalism to the Orange Police Department, which Chief James Sullivan said will investigate all cases as far as the evidence will allow. He said on Tuesday there have not been any arrests in this case, but any apprehended perpetrators would likely face a felony vandalism charge.

Though they have no affiliation with the Black Lives Matter organization, Pike and Magee have organized “Black Lives Matter” vigils in Orange Memorial Park every Saturday since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis Police officer in May 2020. They noted the Drakes have attended some of these events.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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