Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is my new favorite person.
I first saw the images, like many of you, on Instagram. “Black Lives Matter” painted in bright yellow down the middle of a D.C. street. I assumed it was street art that had appeared during the dark of night, the work of a protester making a loud but silent statement.
Well, it was a protest. And it is a statement.
Bowser had the phrase painted this morning on 16th Street between K and H Streets, leading to the White House. But she didn’t stop there. The street, where peaceful protesters were forced out of the way on Monday just before President Donald Trump walked through on his way to the now infamous Bible photo op, has been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza—new street signs and all.
As her chief of staff, John J. Falcicchio, said on Twitter, “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 [were] peacefully protesting on Monday evening.”
On what would have been the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor, shot eight times by police in her own home in March when they raided the wrong address, Bowser is reminding everyone in our nation’s capital of our nation’s Constitutional freedom to protest violations of our nation’s supposed values of equality and justice.
Breonna Taylor, on your birthday, let us stand with determination.
Determination to make America the land it ought to be. pic.twitter.com/XOfu6CGEGY
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) June 5, 2020
Is it petty? Yes, in the best way. Is it “performative,” as the D.C. chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement tweeted? Also yes. I understand why they labeled it a “distraction from real policy changes” they’re fighting for, like defunding the police.
But it’s a distraction I desperately needed today, after another exhausting week of being black in America.
And it’s a message that needed to be sent—and not only to the occupant of the White House—that who you vote for in local elections, much like black lives, matters.
The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.