D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is making a statement to Donald Trump after peaceful protests in the city over police violence against Black people. However, some activists are slamming Bowser’s gesture as disingenuous.
According to NBC News, she had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on the street that leads to the White House.
“There was a dispute this week about whose street this is,” John Falcicchio, chief of staff for Bowser, said 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.”
Folks painted the words on Friday morning in large, yellow block letters across 16th street, which leads to Lafayette Square in the White House.
Just this week, peaceful protestors were cleared out in the plaza between St. John’s Church Episcopal Church and Lafayette Park with tear gas, according to NPR. The U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops pushed people away to make room for Trump, who wanted to have a photo-op in front of the church.
“We have the greatest country in the world,” he said while holding a bible. “Keep it nice and safe.”
Bowser slammed Trump for his actions, tweeting, “I imposed a curfew at 7 pm. A full 25 minutes before the curfew & w/o provocation, federal police used munitions on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult. Shameful! DC residents — Go home. Be safe.”
Bowser’s “Black Lives Matter” street painting is clearly alluding to Trump’s actions.
Despite the messaging, the official D.C. chapter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network wasn’t buying 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,” BLM DC tweeted while tagging a New York Times writer who posted about the street painting.
No New Jails is another group of organizers fighting to prevent the construction of a new jail in D.C., which will cost between $400 and $500 million, according to WAMU. No New Jails called out Bowser, tweeting:
“Meanwhile @MayorBowser is trying to build an over $500M jail and just proposed an increase to the DC policing budget. DC has the most police per capita!! These gesture [sic] are empty and callous. She does not support the local movement for Black lives in DC. #bouncebowser.“
In addition to all this, Bowser has been accused of accelerating gentrification in D.C. by approving a lot of developments that could push Black and low-income people out of their communities. The Institute of Metropolitan Opportunity said that D.C. is the number one urban area that pushes low-income people out of neighborhoods. Bowser has been in office since 2015.
Bowser also recently endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president when he was still in the race. Many people criticized her for endorsing a billionaire who’s constantly been criticized for his stop-and-frisk targeting of Black people in New York, along with other racist unearthings.
Bowser has ended the state of emergency for D.C. since protests over police violence have started. The Metropolitan Police Department didn’t make any arrests on Wednesday night, according to NBC News. Bowser shared a letter addressed to Trump for Thursday, in which she called on him to withdraw “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”
However, No New Jails wasn’t buying this either.
“DC police work with federal law enforcement daily. This is all for show,” they wrote in response to her letter.