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Mural embraces Miami Heat, displays unity against anti-Semitism

Updated: Apr 6, 2021



Credit: Luis Mendoza

Motorists driving in or out of Miami via I-95 in Wynwood may notice an urban art graffiti mural that says, “We love the Heat. United against antisemitism, racism & all hate.”

Artists 4 Israel and the Israel education organization StandWithUs co-sponsored the mural to show that people in the South Florida Jewish community embrace both the Miami Heat and basketball player Meyers Leonard following his apology and his efforts at making amends after using an anti-Semitic slur while publicly live-streaming a video game over Twitch.

Leonard, who was a member of the Heat when he used the slur, was suspended indefinitely by the team after a video of him saying it emerged. The team then traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The mural, which is slated to be up until at least April 16, is visible from the back of 594 NW 26th St. in Miami for people driving on I-95. It is the brainchild of Miami natives 1Der and Reds, who represent Artists 4 Israel in Florida.

Craig Dershowitz, CEO of Artists 4 Israel, said in a news release, “Graffiti often turns old walls into modern works of art, so we hold dear the belief that an individual can transform themselves and their community.”

“We look forward to Meyers Leonard using this dark time to paint a new, more colorful and more human picture of the Jewish people as his relationships with the Jewish community continues to grow following the incident,” Dershowitz continued.

Sara Gold Rafel, executive director of StandWithUs/Southeast in Boca Raton, said in the release, “As an organization, we stand up to anti-Semitism because anti-Semitism hurts everyone.”

“When you allow any kind of hate, it inevitably spreads and can become dangerous,” she continued. “Jews around the world are celebrating Passover – and that holiday reminds us that redemption is possible. It takes work, but like our ancestors, we can get free of what enslaves us. We can see that Meyers Leonard is sincere about freeing himself from the anti-Semitism he may have learned growing up.”

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