D.C. Mayor paints 'Black Lives Matter' sign near the White House and renames street 'Black Lives Matter Plaza'By Mark Pygas
Dec. 23 2020, Updated 3:54 p.m. ET
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had city workers and protesters paint a massive Black Lives Matter sign on a street that leads to the White House. The street has been used by protesters calling for racial justice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
The massive sign spans two blocks of 16th Street, which leads straight to the White House. The bright yellow lettering is hard to miss and can be easily spotted from above or on the ground.
"There was a dispute this week about whose street this is," John Falcicchio, chief of staff for Bowser, explained 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."
On Friday, Mayor Bowser also announced that the street the mural is on would be renamed to "Black Lives Matter Plaza," telling the media: "We want to call attention today to making sure our nation is more fair and more just and that black lives and black humanity matter in our nation."
However, the official D.C. chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network suggested that the sign was a "distraction."
"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," they wrote in a tweet.
Others were more receptive to the idea. "Holy cow," Emily Badger of the New York Times remarked. "The city of DC is out here on 16th street behind the White House painting BLACK LIVES MATTER onto the streets — that it owns — stretching all the way to k Street."
"I wasn't aware before that letters painted on a street could offer such perfect shade," another user added.
"This couldn't be less subtle," another added. "From the Mayor of DC on the doorstep of the White House."
One user concluded: "Mayor Muriel Bowser has just renamed 16th St NW in front of the People’s House 'Black Lives Matter Plaza.' So...in the last 24 hours the Mayor has kicked the National Guard out of DC hotels, has 'Black Lives Matter' written in yellow 66’ block letters and now renamed a street."
While one user joked: "The resident of a certain 1600 address has to cross Black Lives Matter Plaza to leave their house?"