No matter how President Trump has responded to the ongoing protests across America, political figures from all around the country have supported the fight against police brutality and violence against black people. On one hand, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the Congressional Black Caucus to help with a legislative response to the protests. On the other, Republican senators have acknowledged wrongdoings. Now, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has made her support for the protests abundantly clear.
Mayor Bowser renamed the Washington road leading up to the White House.
WHAT DID MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER DO?
Bowser has officially deemed the section of 16th Street “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
Bowser’s office contacted painters to begin painting the road early Friday morning.
Two blocks of 16th Street have a strong yet simple message painted across its two lanes – BLACK LIVES MATTER.
The street has also received its own signage.
“As Washingtonians, we simply all want to be here together in peace to demonstrate that in America, you can peacefully assemble, you can bring grievances to your government, and you can demand change.”
As the mural was unveiled, the mayor’s chief of staff John Falcicchio tweeted –
“There was a dispute this week about whose street this is.”
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 were peacefully protesting on Monday evening.
— John J. Falcicchio (@falcicchio) June 5, 2020
Bowser’s move seems to be an important political and symbolic move. In a time where the government seems to be letting its citizens down, the support of a mayor should mean a lot. However, there has been backlash to her move, even from the movement.
The DC chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network criticized the gesture. They 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
In response to this mural, protestors painted “DEFUND THE POLICE” next to the “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” in the same bright-yellow as the original text.
Makia Green, a core organizer for Black Lives Matter D.C., said that the added display by the organization is a “direct response” to the mayor’s mural.
“Black Lives Matter means defund the police.”
The District’s flag was converted into an “equals” sign, thereby co-opting the city’s own work to make the mural read “Black Lives Matter = Defund the police.”