- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 8, 2021

Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House in Washington will soon became a permanent art installation, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser stated this week, nearly a year since it first came to fruition.

Ms. Bowser, a Democrat, told The Washington Post on Thursday that efforts are underway to enhance the two-block stretch of 16th Street NW that she designated as Black Lives Matter Plaza last June.

“In fact, right now we’re undergoing a process to make the installation more permanent with lighting and landscaping and all the things that you expect in an iconic art installation,” said Ms. Bowser.

The plaza, located directly north of Lafayette Square, a public park neighboring the White House, was established in the aftermath of the murder last May of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In the days following the death of Floyd, a Black man killed by a White police officer, Lafayette Square became a hotspot for protesters to demonstrate against racial injustice and police brutality.

Police forcefully cleared the park of protesters and press on June 1, paving the way for former President Trump to pose for photographs in front of the nearby historic St. John’s Episcopal Church.

City workers subsequently painted “Black Lives Matter” in large yellow letters on the section of 16th Street on June 5, and the mayor officially renamed it “Black Lives Matter Plaza” that same day.

Black Lives Matter Plaza has been closed to vehicular traffic since its dedication, during which time it has supplanted Lafayette Square as a popular spot for protesters to hold demonstrations in D.C.

Speaking to the Post, Ms. Bowser described the mural as a “piece of art with a very affirming message, that not only our residents needed to hear, but people around the world needed to hear.

“And they really appreciated that Donald Trump couldn’t avoid it,” Ms. Bowser added.

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

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