A group of veterans in Madison, Wisconsin have come together to repair and restore their local veterans museum, but it hasn’t been easy.
Since May 31st, near the start of the Black Lives Matter protests, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum has been spray-painted and vandalized, damaging the exposed sandstone portions of the building, catching the attention of local veterans.
In support of repairing the museum, the veterans came together to form ‘Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum,’ and began asking for the communities’ help in repairing the damage and preventing further vandalism to the building.
The group composed and sent letters to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, who rents the museum, offering to help with repairs and even proposing an addition to the museum that would showcase “the contributions of African American service members before and after military unit segregation, as well as the cohesive nature of modern-day multiracial, multigender military units,” according to Channel 3000.
Thanks to their efforts, more than $20,000 in funding commitments have been promised to the group, but they have reached a snag in the plan – the building owner has withdrawn their support of the repairs and the board of Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation voted 6-3 against accepting the funds.
“As veterans, we fought for and deeply respect the rights of citizens to peacefully protest. We ask for the community’s support in repairing the recent damage to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and for its help in preserving this building, which serves to honor all of our state’s veterans who fought and sacrificed bravely to protect those rights,” said BJ Ganem, member of Wisconsin Veterans for a Clean Museum and former Marine infantryman and Purple Heart recipient.
In response to the decision, the group is requesting that locals publicly express their support of the renovation and repair of the museum in hopes that pressure from the community will help move the project forward.