Following the death of Trayvon Martin, three women named Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi began tweeting #blacklivesmatter. What started as a hashtag turned into an ethos, that ethos became a rallying cry, which became a global movement. And now, it’s the road to the White House, literally. On Friday, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed 16th St NW — the street leading up to the White House — “Black Lives Matter Plaza”. In fact, crews spent the last few days painting “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the street itself.
“There was a dispute this week about whose street this is,” tweeted John Falcicchio, chief of staff for Bowser. “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.”
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
Mayor Bowser shared footage of the new street mural along with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that said “…I’m happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we’re going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn’t force them to do it.”
“…I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn't force them to do it.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/SNccbPXonQ
— Muriel Bowser (@MurielBowser) June 5, 2020
Late Thursday, Bowser made headlines for officially asking President Donald Trump to remove the Utah National Guard from Washington D.C. hotels, where they had been staying on protest duty. Some politicians cried foul, though Twitter got the Third Amendment of all things trending (the Third Amendment does not allow soldiers to stay on anyone’s property without the consent of the owner). It’s not entirely clear that this is exactly a Third Amendment situation, but Constitutional scholars are doubtlessly excited to see one of the more antiquated corners of the Constitution in the spotlight.
Not everyone was happy — including D.C.’s official chapter of Black Lives Matter. “This is a performative distraction from real policy changes,” the official account tweeted. “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.”