A MURAL honouring the late Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee has been unveiled in Orlando, Florida.
The powerful painting depicts the journalist and LGBT+ activist surrounded by a rainbow heart with the words "Keep hanging on, kid. It's worth it. I love you".
Mural unveiled in Orlando honouring my amazingly talented friend Lyra McKee. Great you’re back in the city you loved kid, but so sad it’s like this. You should be standing beside that mural chuffed to bits, in your best vest top, grinning from ear to ear. pic.twitter.com/kXcls4IwkX
— Suzanne Breen (@SuzyJourno) December 3, 2019
The words are a direct quote from Ms McKee's 'Letter to my 14-year-old self', a powerful piece of writing about coming to terms with and being proud of who you are.
Ms McKee had spent time in Orlando, where the mural is based, as part of a cultural exchange program following the deadly shooting in the LGBT Pulse Nightclub in 2016, and had dedicated a TEDx Talk in Belfast to the victims.
The exceptionally passionate journalist, who focused on investigating sectarian violence, was killed by dissident Republicans in Derry while covering a story when she was hit by a stray bullet during a riot.
Her death resulted in both horrified condemnation and an outpouring of love across the board, and a mural similar to the one in Orlando appeared in Belfast in May of this year.
Speaking to The Belfast Telegraph, Ms McKee's sister Nichola Corner said that the mural was "absolutely beautiful", and that the family were "amazed by the powerful message and symbolism" it depicted.
"It's a really fitting tribute, it really captures Lyra and what she stood for, love, tolerance, joy and happiness," Ms Corner said.
"She really affected so many people in her short life and made so many connections, often in short meetings. Tributes like this from the international community demonstrate the level of impact she had. She really touched people's hearts.
"We are overwhelmed that our wee Lyra is being memorialised in this way in a city like Orlando," she continued.
"It's very rare that I am lost for words, but I was when I saw the mural for the first time."