New mural within the Birmingham Civil Rights District celebrates kindness

Verizon “Be Kind” Mural on 714 17th Avenue North Downtown Birmingham. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Birmingham has a new mural downtown celebrating kindness.

Commissioned by the Verizon #ACallForKindness campaign, the colorful mural can be found at 314 17th Street North in the Birmingham Civil Rights District.

Be Kind

Be Kind
Verizon “Be Kind” Mural on 714 17th Avenue North Downtown Birmingham. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

“This is a “Be Kind” mural,” Birmingham native E.L.(Erica) Chisolm—the muralist and creative placemaking specialist for the historic Fourth Avenue business district—told Bham Now while she was painting the finishing touches on a Sunday morning. “This message was very important for this wall, this space. Whenever I paint here (Birmingham Civil Rights District), I always remind myself, this is sacred ground. The people that came here, walked here, fought here—it is important to me.”


Chisholm described how she settled on the mural’s powerful message.

“As someone from the South we hear the saying, “don’t take my kindness for weakness”, all the time, because people think nice people are weak. The message came to me: kindness is a strength, not a weakness.”

Verizon’s Campaign

Be kind
(Pat Byington / Bham Now)

The message is a perfect fit for Verizon’s national campaign.

“We want to do more than simply say kindness is important,” said Krista Bourne, Chief Operating Officer for Verizon Consumer Group. “We want to show that every kind act matters and help showcase the tangible impact our kind acts can have. That’s why we’ve built a multifaceted approach to this campaign that leverages research, inspires people through art, educates people through kindness experts, and provides opportunities for people to quickly and easily choose kindness, no matter who they are or where they live.”

More Murals by Chisolm Coming

According to Chisolm, she will be unveiling several more murals not connected to the Verizon campaign in the coming days before The World Games. Presently, her works can be discovered throughout town including: 

  • Murals (side by side) honoring Angela Davis and Carrie Tuggle
  • 4th Ave Moving Forward mural 
  • Flags hanging throughout the district honoring 4th Ave. pioneers
  • And much more
Flags on 4th Avenue North Business District in Birmingham. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

About her paintings and works in the Birmingham Civil Rights District, Chisholm concluded our Sunday interview saying. “This is a heart space—a sacred space. We should take care of our sacred spaces. A lot of people died in this space, for this space, in this space.”

One of 20+ Communities 

The folks at Verizon are overjoyed with their new mural in downtown Birmingham, thanks to Chisolm’s passion, creativity and kindness

“Since launching the #ACallForKindness campaign in October 2020, Verizon has teamed up with local mural artists from across the country to beautify more than 20 cities nationwide. We’re proud to have worked with E.L. Chisolm brought even more art, kindness and beauty to downtown Birmingham.”

Chris Serico, Verizon Communications Manager

Have you seen the murals around the 4th Avenue Business District and Birmingham Civil Rights District. Tell us your favorite. Tag us at @bham now on social media.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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