Amid global outcry and protests sweeping the nation, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser re-named the street leading to the White House after the Black Lives Matter movement.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has been in the headlines this week after she approved a new art installation reading “Black Lives Matter” on the road leading up to the White House. The African-American leader sent a message to Donald Trump when she unveiled the words, emblazoned in huge yellow letters that stretched two full blocks — the same spot where protesters were dispersed by police with teargas so that Trump could cross the street for a photo op at a church. Muriel also revealed the street’s new name: Black Lives Matter Plaza, and even erected a new street sign.
It comes amid national outcry following the the tragic deaths of three unarmed Black citizens — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Celebrities have joined in the ongoing marches not only across the country, but around the world, and even more public figures have encouraged citizens to use their voice and vote in primaries throughout the country, like former President Barack Obama. The unsettling video of George’s death, which showed fired police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, truly rocked the nation. Despite saying “I can’t breathe,” the former cop continued to kneel on his neck while three other officers — Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Keung — stood by. All were fired, subsequently arrested and charged. Here are 5 things to know about Mayor Muriel Bowser.
1. Muriel has denounced many of Trump’s actions. Along with the controversial paint job she approved, which read “Black Lives Matter”, Muriel has spoken out about Trump’s decision to bring in the military amid protests in the city. The rallies in Washington have largely been peaceful, according to local police, however thousands of military personnel have descended on the capital in recent days. “Because of our lack of statehood, the federal government can encroach on our city streets in the name of protecting federal assets,” she told MSNBC on June 4.
2. She spoke onstage at a Black Lives Matter protest. Muriel joined tens of thousands of protesters on June 6, as they marched en masse to protest the killing of George Floyd. “It’s so wonderful to see everyone peacefully protesting, wearing their masks,” she told the crowd at Black Lives Matter Plaza. The area has become a de facto base for continued protesting since she changed the name of the street.
In a remarkable scene @MayorBowser is called onstage by a DJ entertaining #JusticeForGeogeFloyd demontrators in the middle of 16th Street. The Mayor climbed onto the risers with the help of her security and addressed a crowd of thousands. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/pOwkKfDJU6
— Eric Flack (@EricFlackTV) June 6, 2020
3. Muriel assumed office in 2015. She began serving the city as Mayor in Jan. 2015, and her current term ends in Jan. 2023. A member of the democratic party, she ran for re-election in 2018 and won the support of the city a second time. She has a longstanding history of fighting for the residents of D.C. having previously represented Ward 4 on the Washington, D.C. Council from 2007 to 2015, and served on the Washington, D.C. Advisory Neighbourhood Commission from 2004 to 2007.
4. Trump responded to her actions via Twitter. As Muriel called for the removal of military personnel from the city, and even penned a letter to Trump about the issue, he hit back at her on Twitter. “The incompetent Mayor of Washington, D.C., @MayorBowser, who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for “handouts”, is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment…” he tweeted on June 5.
5. Muriel has been hailed an excellent leader by people all over the world. Social media exploded with images of the “Black Lives Matter” installation, and noted that Muriel’s actions amid the ongoing protests were commendable. “This is what a leader looks like,” one Twitter user wrote, accompanied by a photo of the Mayor, while another wrote, “I’m telling y’all, this is the petty Olympics and @MayorBowser is going for the GOLD!!! Sis, we are not worthy!!!” The tweet referenced the fact that the “Black Lives Matter” sign was lit up at night, so that Trump could read it.