This weekend’s attack on Black Lives Matter and the sanctity of Black churches harboring a safe space for protest and revolution came to a head when white supremacists descended upon the nation’s capital to protest Trump’s impending departure from the White House.
Local Black Lives Matter activists are assigning accountability on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and local law enforcement for what they claim is inaction on several fronts.
“I hold Mayor Bowser responsible for this,” said Ne Ne Taylor, a co-organizer with Black Lives Matter DC in an interview with WTOP.
Taylor and other BLM leaders believe Browser and the Metropolitan Police Department failed to protect and serve citizens and counter-protesters in the face of violence and racism, by allowing MAGA and Proud Boys members to saunter through the streets of D.C. unscathed.
As hate groups like the Proud Boys and members of MAGA land burned a Black Lives Matter flag ripped from a Black church, likening to the imagery of KKK members burning crosses on Black church grounds in the south, many wondered why there were no calls for law and order that routinely take place during protests against police brutality.
Taylor was among a group of counter-protesters who organized shifts to protect an area near the Black Lives Matter mural, in close proximity to the White House. She says she stood “heartbroken” and somber as she watched members of the abovementioned hate groups
“If Black people and people of color was to act like this, they would have done what they’ve been doing since [the] George Floyd protests started. Tear gassing us, beating us and arresting us. That happened to none of the Proud Boys. The police was around and they done nothing to the white supremacists,” she said.
Black Lives Matter leaders have relayed a series of criticisms against Mayor Bowser, most recently beginning with the Black Lives Matter mural. Activists described the mural as a watered-down effort to evade a running conversation around defunding the police.
Over the summer as demonstrations took place nationwide over the continued killings of Black community members, Bowser and city officials argued for the increase of the MPD’s budget, eventually approving $568M to be allocated towards law enforcement.
Black Lives Matter leaders felt the money was another disappointment around the increased need for policy to align with grand gestures.
“We have to invest into things that keep people safe: housing, health care, jobs, better schools, mental health. That’s where money needs to go, so we can build communities that can empower people and make a better world,” Taylor told WTOP. “If we all can eat and sleep and have jobs and health care, the world will be a better place.”
This weekend also signals possible impending violence as demonstrations organized by Trump’s supporters turn violent in cities across the country.