People in Washington DC woke up to a loud and clear message—‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’—on the street leading to the southward of the White House. The mural, painted in giant yellow letters ahead of a planned protest in the capital this weekend, was intended to send a message of solidarity to Americans outraged over the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.
Days after openly criticising President Donald Trump about handling the BLM protests in the city and calling for the removal of out-of-state National Guard troops, Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled the mural for all. Videos and photos of the slogan sign on the street are now going viral.
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“…I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn't force them to do it.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr #BlackLivesMatter
Sharing the clip on Twitter, the mayor made another important point that Friday was the 27th birth of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville EMT, who was shot and killed by the police in her own home last month. “Breonna Taylor, on your birthday, let us stand with determination. Determination to make America the land it ought to be,” the Mayor wrote.
Bowser also dedicated the section of 16th Street bearing the mural “Black Lives Matter” to the movement and officially named the street leading up to the White House ‘Black Lives Matter Plaza’. The clip of the sign being put up is going viral and has garnered over 4 million views at the time of writing.
The section of 16th street in front of the White House is now officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. pic.twitter.com/bbJgAYE35b
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
The new sign has been installed at the intersection of H and 16th Streets, the site of St John’s Episcopal Church. It is the same church where President Trump made a visit amid the protests earlier this week and did a photo op holding a Bible after officers in riot gear fired tear gas and charged demonstrators to make way for him.
“There’s a lot of anger. There’s a lot of distrust of police in the government. There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen and to have their humanity recognized,” she said during a news conference on Friday. “And we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city. That message is to the American people that black lives matter, black humanity matters, and we as a city raise that up,” the mayor said.
Using rollers and buckets of bright yellow paint, a group of people — men and women, of different races and ages— were filmed finishing the street art. The painters were contacted by Bowser and began work early Friday morning, the mayor’s office told CNN.
— Anthony Leong (@anthonyleong83) June 5, 2020
Holy cow. The city of DC is out here on 16th steeet behind the White House painting BLACK LIVES MATTER onto the streets — that it owns — stretching all the way to k Street. pic.twitter.com/PU7DW7XZHu
— Emily Badger (@emilymbadger) June 5, 2020
And for the evening, the city officials also lite up the streets and installed new ‘Black Lives Matter’ light projections near the White House on two buildings on either side of the newly named plaza.
As the gesture of the mayor went viral, the DC chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network was not quite pleased. Criticising the move, the group tweeted, “This is a performative distraction from real policy changes. Bowser has consistently been on the wrong side of BLMDC history. This is to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands. Black Lives Matter means defund the police.”
This is a performative distraction from real policy changes. Bowser has consistently been on the wrong side of BLMDC history. This is to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands. Black Lives Matter means defund the police. @emilymbadger say it with us https://t.co/w0ekwSG1ip
— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) June 5, 2020
However, it got a positive feedback from most of the people online, including celebrities and senators. Most showered their love and support for the mayor and thanked her for sending out a clear message to the President.
*VISITOR MAP FOR JUNE 6, 2020 DC PROTEST*
— Seth Abramson (@🏠) (@SethAbramson) June 6, 2020
BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!! TOGETHER we shall prevail!! 🙏🏾💪🏾✊🏾❤️👑 https://t.co/bukvn3X43k
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 5, 2020
— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MurielBowser) June 5, 2020
I’m proud to stand with @MayorBowser as we renamed 16th & H St NW #BlackLivesMatterPlaza. Never forget that peaceful protestors petitioning the government for a redress of grievances were attacked by #Federal officers who should be protecting people, not suppressing their rights. pic.twitter.com/HTXyxWIl9u
— Senator Paul Strauss (@SenPaulStrauss) June 5, 2020
Activists may feel that this is performative as they fight for defunding DC police, but this is remarkable nonetheless. It’s on 16th street, a key route to all seats of governance in DC. Symbolism matters and the visual impact is astounding. https://t.co/zeO4lOZI1q
— Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly) June 5, 2020
Every town in America should have a Black Lives Matter street. https://t.co/64ZF1kjmcV
— Dave (@davewiner) June 5, 2020
This couldn’t be less subtle! From the Mayor of DC on the doorstep of the White House. https://t.co/O2n1mtweOc
— Katty Kay (@KattyKay_) June 5, 2020
My 85 year-old mother, former GOP and now an Independent like me, is tickled half to death at this move by Mayor Bowser! Loves. It. https://t.co/aKrX3Dj8ox
— Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) June 5, 2020
I make no predictions about where this goes and there are lots of reasons to be pessimistic, but right now definitely feels different from any time in my adult life. Something broke open this time. https://t.co/XqluAfMM8V
— Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) June 5, 2020
The D.C. Mayor renaming a street near the Trump White House Black Lives Matter Plaza is the type of flex most people can only dream of… 🙌🏾
— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) June 5, 2020
I asked her why we were here. Shes said: “So the police don’t hurt peoples.”
— Kevin B. Chavous (@Kevinchavous) June 5, 2020
DC mayor Muriel bowser is my favorite right now 💯
She painted the street the whitehouse is on with BLACK LIVES MATTER AND because I LOVE this level of petty, She renamed the street BLACK LIVES MATTER PLZ
So now trump lives at
1600 black lives matter plaza ✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/jnj5iPBV3R
— Anthony Nichols (@anichols03) June 5, 2020
— nattie ⋆★ (@exstacystyles) June 5, 2020
The mayor of DC changed the name of the road that leads to the White House to “Black Lives Mayter” plaza. Trump now lives on “Black Lives Matter” plaza, lol that’s petty😂🤣 a black queen did that #BlackLivesMatterDC #blacklivesmatter 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾✊🏿✊🏿✊🏿 pic.twitter.com/Uzwh8BLImT
— MaliqRudz (@MaliqRudz) June 6, 2020
— Christine (@cag123) June 5, 2020
Shout out to @MurielBowser for her courageous stand against the racism stemming from the White House! The #RacistInChief is already throwing a tantrum. THIS is resistance done right! #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/FbnT3WnH8t
— Steve Melcher (@Smelcher2) June 5, 2020
Protests erupted across the country following the death of Floyd in police custody on May 25. The officer responsible for his death has been fired and charged with second-degree murder.
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