New York’s former mayor joined several activists yesterday in painting “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters on the city’s exclusive Fifth Avenue in front of the Trump Tower, once the crown jewel in President Donald Trump’s property empire.
As shocked and surprised doormen at the luxury apartment building’s shiny gold doorstep watched the painters, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, along with Reverend Al Sharpton, who praised George Floyd in Minneapolis in early June, joined dozens of mask-wearing people pushing paint rollers to create the block-long mural.
The Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum after George Floyd was brutally murdered in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white officer knelt on the Black man’s neck.
A high school student Betty Kubovy-Weiss, 16, of Manhattan, among the other painters, explained that her work painting the “V” and “E” of “LIVES” was aimed at counteracting the “negativity and violence” of Trump’s “miserable presidency”.
“Black Lives Matter is an important statement in and of itself. Our president has generally been highly critical of the movement in a way that I think is very dangerous and damaging to our nation,” Kubovy-Weiss denounced.
President Trump on Twitter last week nominated the fresh mural a “symbol of hate.”
In an interview on Fox News last night, Trump claimed that merchants along Fifth Avenue are “furious” at the new-painted mural.
Trump, who changed his primary residence in September from Manhattan to Florida, also added that people are leaving the city because of the way it is run, implicitly criticizing De Blasio’ Democratic Party mandate. “It’s very sad actually to see what happened,” he claimed.
Similar Black Lives Matter murals are planned to be painted in each of New York City’s five boroughs and have appeared across the United States. They started in Washington, D.C., where the massive message covered a street near the White House after authorities used pepper spray to disperse peaceful protesters and clear the way for Trump’s June 1 photo opportunity of him holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
“It doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter - it just means that this shouldn’t be happening,” said James Wallace of New York. “We won’t turn our heads and deny that there is racial violence occurring.”
As a hot sun beat down on hundreds of gallons of paint drying outside one of Manhattan’s most prestigious addresses, de Blasio’s office tweeted a photograph of the mural with the words, “NYC has a message for the entire world: #BlackLivesMatter.”