The mayor of New York on Thursday took a roller and helped paint “Black Lives Matter” in front of the skyscraper in Manhattan named after President Donald Trump, who last week tweeted that the street mural would be “a symbol of hatred.”
Bill de Blasio was accompanied by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and the Rev. Al Sharpton when he helped paint the motto for racial justice in huge yellow letters on Fifth Avenue, opposite the Trump Tower. Activists present chanted: “Whose streets are they? Our streets! ”
“When we say ‘Black Lives Matter’, there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement, since there is no United States without African-Americans,” said De Blasio. “We are acknowledging the truth about ourselves as Americans by saying ‘Black Lives Matter.’ We are correcting a mistake. ”
The mayor announced the plan to paint “Black Lives Matter” in front of the Trump Tower last month after previously pointing out that the motto would be painted on streets in various parts of the city. Trump replied via Twitter that the mural would denigrate “this luxurious avenue” and “create more antagonism” against the city police. De Blasio tweeted in response that Black Lives Matter is “a movement to recognize and protect the lives of black people.”
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Rahima Torrence, 20, who helped paint the motto on Fifth Avenue, said that while the mural may be a symbol, “it is the beginning of something else.” He added that the location in front of the Trump skyscraper “shows that we matter and shows him that he cannot ignore us.”
Washington, DC was the first city in the United States to paint a yellow “Black Lives Matter” mural when Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered it to be painted on the street toward the White House. Bowser said the goal was to show solidarity with the outraged population at the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Trump lived in the Trump Tower before coming to the White House as president, but he has spent little time there since then. He officially moved his residence from New York to Florida last year, although his business empire is still based on that skyscraper.