WASHINGTON (WMAL) – Social media blew up with praise for D.C. after Department of Public Works employees with Murals D.C. painted the words “Black Lives Matter” on part of 16th Street Friday morning and renamed the street “Black Lives Matter Plaza,” but not everyone praised the city for it.
Black Lives Matter D.C. Tweeted Friday, this response to Emily Badger with the New York Times who Tweeted about it:
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
For seven straight days the streets of D.C. have been packed with people chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice No Peace” in response to the killing of an unarmed black man George Floyd on May 25 by Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin who held his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the man screamed he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, and three other officers involved in the arrest have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. The killing sparked protests and riots in cities throughout the nation, including massive demonstrations which turned violent – with some people setting fires, throwing things at police officers and looting – in D.C. The street the words are painted on is in front of the White House, and the home to the historic St. John’s Church which was burned and graffitied by rioters.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Friday the city knows what’s going on around the country.
“There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear on a very important street in our city,” Bowser said.
She said the city wanted to send a message to Americans that black lives and humanity matter and that the city raises that up as part of its values.
Bowser said she knows Black Lives Matter D.C. has been very critical of her.
“But that doesn’t mean that I don’t see them and support the things that will make our community safe and that we don’t all have a larger responsibility in the nation’s capitol to send that very clear message to our nation,” Bowser said.
The painting and street renaming come a day before what D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham expects to be the biggest protest yet in the city Saturday. He said he doesn’t know how many people will show up for it but expects it to be the largest protest in the city over the killing.
Newsham said police are preparing to keep people safe and stop people from destroying things.
Copyright 2020 by WMAL.com. All Rights Reserved. PHOTO: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Twitter