Taiwo Jaiyeoba Made Charlotte’s BLM Mural PossibleBy Susie Adams
Every year, we identify the extraordinary people who moved us over the past 365 days and will continue to inspire us for the next 365. As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, we recognize Authentic People of 2020 who demonstrate courage, heart, vulnerability and the kind of character the world could use more of.
The Planner with a Plan and a Twitter Feed
One of Charlotte’s greatest 2020 accomplishments began with a tweet!
Within 24 hours of the tweet being posted our friends from Charlotte Is Creative emailed Taiwo with a list of artists “ready to do this right now.” Three days later, the landmark Charlotte Black Lives Matter Mural was born.
The mural transformed our city in a profoundly important way. Taiwo said on his Twitter page on June 9, that an elderly African American said to him, “I never believed this could happen in Charlotte in my lifetime.”
Taiwo Jaiyeoba is Charlotte’s Assistant City Manager and the Chief City Planner, a role he has held since 2018. As his Twitter bio says, he has a “passion for seeing people and places transformed.”
Taiwo’s Twitter Treasure Trove
You can learn a lot about a person from their Twitter feed. Taiwo’s feed is a treasure trove of reality, aspiration and ideas about people and places:
- “every $1 invested in public transit generates $5 in economic returns”
- “People walking/bicycling are involved in less than 3% of all crashes, but account for 44% of all traffic deaths,…”
- “History is fond of repeating itself… unless we alter its course.”
- “It should never be cheaper to pay for parking than to buy a monthly transit pass.”
- “I’m a planner not a psychic, but I believe that the future is often the past returning through another gate.”
- “When I was growing up, kids in my neighborhood claimed the streets around us. We used them as mini-soccer pitches and bike trials since formal outdoor spaces were far away. Let’s rethink our streets together.”
- “When we design for people in places, we get people into those spaces.
If you need a reading list, you can find it on his feed. Taiwo uses other cities as examples for Charlotte — from Nashville to DiVinci’s plan for Milan after the bubonic plague.
His 2020 post links to city planning efforts including the Charlotte Moves Task Force report and its focus on transportation, multimodal networks and mobility, the Charlotte 2040 Plan, the first master plan for growth since 1975. All of his efforts are focused on equity, sustainability and placemaking.
In a 2018 Charlotte Magazine interview, he described himself as a Sesame Street kid who loved the song, “Who are the people in your neighborhood?”
If you want to know about Charlotte and its neighborhoods, follow Taiwo Jaiyeoba (@winnerspath).
Hear The Story From Taiwo Himself
Taiwo joined us, alongside Charlotte Planning Coordinator Monica Holmes and Charlotte Is Creative Co-Founders Matt Olin & Tim Miner, on a July 2020 episode of Human Touch. They shared the story of the mural’s creation and what the project meant to the city of Charlotte.
If you have an important story of your own to tell, we can help you create a clear message that connects. Learn more about our various programs here.
Some Closing Thoughts
2020 was a year where social justice issues were in the spotlight and Taiwo Jaiyeoba helped give those issues a stage. His key role in making Charlotte’s Black Lives Matter mural possible helped give artists, activists, and the Charlotte community a space to share their voice. The project’s completion was a moment that the city of Charlotte won’t soon forget.