On Friday, she had people paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters on two blocks of 16th Street ― a street that goes directly to the White House.
At the end of the mural, on the side closest to the White House, the painters added the Washington, D.C., flag.
Street painters put the giant letters on the ground in anticipation of more protests against police brutality and racism in the coming days.
— Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MurielBowser) June 5, 2020
Bowser also had 16th Street NW ― which is just in front of the White House ― renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.” Washington Post reporter Julie Zauzmer filmed the new street sign going up to applause.
Mayor Bowser has renamed 16th Street NW just in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plz.” Here’s video of the sign going up. pic.twitter.com/NYnolEe7Qg
— Julie Zauzmer (@JulieZauzmer) June 5, 2020
Bowser’s chief of staff, John Falcicchio, explained via Twitter that the mayor wanted “to make it abundantly clear that this is DC’s street and to honor demonstrators who [were] peacefully protesting on Monday evening.”
There was a dispute this week about whose street this is. Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC’s street and to honor demonstrators who peacefully protesting on Monday evening. https://t.co/bjdVXLUf12
— John J. Falcicchio #StayHomeDC (@falcicchio) June 5, 2020
The Black Lives Matter street mural appeared a day after Bowser posted a letter addressed to Trump on Twitter requesting that he withdraw “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”
But while the street mural was visually striking, Black Lives Matter DC dismissed Bowser’s action, saying the mayor “has consistently been on the wrong side of BLMDC history” and that the mural was a “performative distraction from real policy changes” designed to “appease white liberals while ignoring our demands.”
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
Bowser previously earned criticism from activists for trying to make footage captured by police body cameras exempt from public records laws.