The ‘Black Lives Matter’ street mural is in honor of D.C.’s peaceful protestors
The mayor of Washington, D.C., has made it clear that no matter how the president feels, the streets of D.C. belong to the people. Specifically, the peaceful protestors that have been demonstrating following George Floyd’s police-sanctioned murder last week. This morning, Mayor Muriel Bowser commissioned the phrase “Black Lives Matter” painted on the street leading directly to the White House, and painters immediately got to work.
“There was a dispute this week about whose street this is,” says John Falcicchio, chief of staff for the mayor, tweeted. “Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC’s street and to honor demonstrators who [were] peacefully protesting on Monday evening.”
The enormous, banner-like mural spans two blocks of 16th Street, a street that leads southward straight to the White House. Each of the 16 bold, yellow letters spans the width from curb to curb, creating an impressive aerial visual.
Speaking of 16th Street in D.C., one section of it — that also sits in front of the White House — is now officially called Black Lives Matter Plaza, Mayor Bowser announced today. A green street sign for Black Lives Matter Plaza was secured to a lamp post outside St. John’s church.
If St. John’s church rings a bell, you’re likely recalling the incident on Monday where federal forces used munitions and pepper spray on Monday to clear peaceful protesters and make way for Trump to take a photo while awkwardly holding the Bible and not once going inside the church.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, head of the Episcopal denomination, accused Trump of using the church and Holy Bible for political persuasion in a statement to the Washington Post. “This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Curry wrote. “The prophet Micah taught that the Lord requires us to ‘do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.’ For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’”
Mayor Bowser’s strides for the Black Lives Matter movement have been praised on social media, but she faced some criticism from Black Lives Matter Global Network, who cited the actions as “performative” and called for police reform.
Bowser has addressed Trump directly this morning, however, in requesting all military presence and federal law enforcement be withdrawn from D.C. Combined, at least 5,800 troops, agents, and officers have taken to the streets of the the capital.
“The protestors have been peaceful, and last night, the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest,” she wrote. “Therefore, I am requesting that you withdraw all extraordinary law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”