Social media on Friday was flooded with images and videos of city workers and local muralists painting “Black Lives Matter” in large block letters between H Street and K Street on 16th Street NW.
Local artist Rose Jaffe told the Washington Post that the efforts involved in painting the massive slogan began around 4 a.m. local time on Friday.
Local muralists and city staff are painting “Black Lives Matter” in massive letters here on 16th Street in front of the White House pic.twitter.com/UDU4F6OjFR— Rachel Chason (@Rachel_Chason) June 5, 2020
In a Friday social media post, the mayor issued a message to the late Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed in her own home by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers during a botched raid on March 13. Friday would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday.
Breonna Taylor, on your birthday, let us stand with determination.— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
Determination to make America the land it ought to be. pic.twitter.com/XOfu6CGEGY
The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights organizations have since filed a lawsuit against US President Donald Trump and US Attorney General William Barr, who ordered authorities to clear Lafayette Square ahead of the president’s photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The mayor also unveiled the “Black Lives Matter Plz NW” sign that is now fixed at the corner of 16th Street and H Street NW in the city.
"We want to call attention today to making sure our nation is more fair and more just and that black lives and that black humanity matter in our nation," Bowser said, as reported by NBC Washington.
Responding to the mayor’s words and actions on Friday, the local Black Lives Matter chapter argued that this push is “a performative distraction from real policy changes.”
“This is to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands. Black Lives Matter means defund the police,” argued the group Friday morning.
The Black Lives Matter chapter also accused Bowser of publicly refuting data that shows the impact of “racist stop and frisk practices” on the local black community.
@MayorBowser is a fraud.@MayorBowser stands with killer cops in DC. @MayorBowser never called families after @DCPoliceDept murdered their loved one.@MayorBowser repeatedly makes public statements refuting all claims of racist stop and frisk practices in DC despite MPD DATA— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) June 5, 2020
The newly-named Black Lives Matter Plaza NW leads to the White House, which received additional fortification on Thursday via tall, metal fencing and concrete barriers.
A Secret Service official told The Hill on Thursday that the White House complex, which includes Lafayette Square, will remain closed to the public until June 10.
"These closures are in an effort to maintain the necessary security measures surrounding the White House complex, while also allowing for peaceful demonstration," the agent claimed.