Elise Swinford (left) and Catherine Unzicker (right) paint the city's newest mural 'Be Like Lovejoy' on the wall of the building housing Myrtle's Pie on Princeton's North Main Street. The mural is part of an effort by the group Human Human to spread a message of unity in the name of Princeton's celebrated abolitionist. The mural and informational campaign rolled out in the absent of this year's Homestead Festival, which celebrates Lovejoy's legacy.
Elise Swinford (left) and Catherine Unzicker (right) paint the city's newest mural 'Be Like Lovejoy' on the wall of the building housing Myrtle's Pie on Princeton's North Main Street. The mural is part of an effort by the group Human Human to spread a message of unity in the name of Princeton's celebrated abolitionist. The mural and informational campaign rolled out in the absent of this year's Homestead Festival, which celebrates Lovejoy's legacy.

PRINCETON — You may have seen the signs in storefronts, or the mural on North Main Street, but what exactly is ‘Be Like Lovejoy?’

“’Be Like Lovejoy’ is a slogan/campaign introduced by Human Human during the Homestead Festival in 2017 via postcards that were distributed in the parade,” said Kyle Unzicker, one of the Human Human founders.

“The postcard contains the message ‘Owen Lovejoy was a relentless force against racism. Be Like Lovejoy.’”

Unzicker said the timing was striking because it was a few weeks after the deadly white-supremacist rally that had occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“The idea was to remind Princeton that the ever-popular Homestead Festival exists, at least in theory, to honor the legacy of Owen Lovejoy, and that there’s no question that if he were alive today, he would still be fighting for racial justice. Owen Lovejoy would not hesitate to say, Black lives matter,” Unzicker said.

Unzicker says Human Human always had a larger campaign beyond the postcards in mind. This year presented an opportunity when Homestead weekend was canceled due to the pandemic.

“While we couldn’t celebrate Homestead in person, we can still honor the legacy of Owen Lovejoy today and all days by heeding his call for Princeton to be an anti-racist community,” he said.

Human Human worked with the owner of the building, Ann Crosby, as well as the Princeton Arts Commission to get approval of the design and proposed location for a mural identical to the window signs seen in storefronts throughout Main Street.

“We are very grateful to Ann for letting us use her building,” Unzicker said.

They produced 50 signs for sale with the hope that they would be displayed in the windows of businesses and homes.

“We sold all 50,” Unzicker said. “Any proceeds from the signs paid for the signs themselves and the materials for the mural.”

The group also created a website, belikelovejoy.com, to provide resources and information.

Who is Human Human?

Human Human is a community group that exists to ensure that all are welcome in Princeton, Illinois – all races, all religions, all nationalities, all sexual orientations, all abilities and all genders. The group is comprised of parents, business owners, volunteers, activists, artists and teachers.

For more local news, visit BCRNews.com at https://www.bcrnews.com.

Bureau County