- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2020

New York City closed a stretch of Fifth Avenue on Thursday to have the phrase “Black Lives Matter” painted in large yellow letters on the street outside Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who riled President Trump when he announced plans for the mural last week, was among the participants on hand to help paint it.

“Our city isn’t just painting the words on Fifth Avenue. We’re committed to the meaning of the message,” Mr. de Blasio said on Twitter where he shared a photo showing his involvement.

Mr. de Blasio announced last week he planned to have “Black Lives Matter” painted outside Trump Tower, the president’s Manhattan residence, amid similar murals appearing nationwide following the racially charged death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in late May.

Mr. Trump denounced the plan on Twitter at the time by referring to the phrase “Black Lives Matter” as a “symbol of hate” and saying the mural would denigrate Fifth Avenue.

“The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism,” Mr. de Blasio fired back at the time.

Floyd, 46, was killed May 25 while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department. Four officers involved were consequently fired and charged with related crimes.

More than a month later, Floyd’s death has continued to spark global protests against systemic racism and police brutality in addition to inspiring murals like Manhattan’s.

Trump Tower is not the president’s only residence near a massive “Black Lives Matter” mural, meanwhile. “Black Lives Matter,” a rallying cry as well as a global protest movement against racism, was painted in large yellow letters early last month near the White House in Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser designated the area “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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