Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had “Black Lives Matter” painted on the street that leads to the White House as well as changed the name of 16th Street to “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
The road has been a popular place for demonstrators to protest, and now, according to Bowser, it’s a commemorative area to honor protesters and the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and everyone who has lost their lives to police brutality and white supremacy.
"There was a dispute this week about whose street this is," John Falcicchio, chief of staff for Bowser, wrote in a tweet. "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."
There was a dispute this week about whose street this is. Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC’s street and to honor demonstrators who peacefully protesting on Monday evening. https://t.co/bjdVXLUf12— John J. Falcicchio #StayHomeDC (@falcicchio) June 5, 2020
On Friday morning (June 5), people were seen painting the words “Black Lives Matter” in large block letters in yellow on 16th street, which leads to Lafayette Square and the White House.
Washington, D.C., officials painted ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ in 35-foot-tall letters on the street just blocks from the White House pic.twitter.com/uZihm364aT— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 5, 2020
While many are applauding the move, others, including the official D.C. chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network says the gesture is empty and that Mayor Bowser has been “on the wrong side of BLMDC.”
"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," the account 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. @emilymbadger say it with us https://t.co/w0ekwSG1ip— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) June 5, 2020
The painting and street renaming come just days after Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Park Police and National Guard to forcefully remove and tear gas demonstrators who were peacefully protesting outside the White House. The crowd dispersed so the president could walk out of the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo-op.
Bowser also sent a letter addressed to Trump on Thursday requesting he withdraw "all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C." now that she has ended the state of emergency for the city.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images/Assisted by City of DC