New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is giving Fifth Avenue a timely update.
By Tanya A. Christian, ESSENCE
One of New York City’s most iconic thoroughfares is getting a “controversial” new update. On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that “Black Lives Matter” will be painted in large yellow letters outside of Trump Towers on Fifth Avenue.
de Blasio’s decision to follow in the footsteps of many mayors in the wake of a national uprising spurred by the state-sanctioned deaths of Black men and women was met by disdain by the impeached president who claims “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
In a tweet, he responded by suggesting that painting the words “Black Lives Matter” would muddy the “fabled and beautiful Fifth Avenue.” He also sought to sew division between the movement and the police by alleging the group stands for killing police.
Told that @NYCMayor Bill de Blasio wants to paint the fabled & beautiful Fifth Avenue, right in front of Trump Tower/Tiffany, with a big yellow Black Lives Matter sign. “Pigs in a Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon”, referring to killing Police, is their chant. NYC Police are furious!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2020
A spokeswoman for the Mayor offered insight into de Blasio’s decision to redecorate Fifth Avenue. “The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” Julia Arredondo said in a statement. “He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded, Black Lives Matter.”
On Friday morning, de Blasio echoed those sentiments on CNN’s New Day, noting that Black lives have played an integral part in building New York City and making it what it is today. He also played down Trump’s assertion that the Black Lives Matter movement was an effort to kill cops. He told host Alisyn Camerota that a large portion of New York City’s police force was comprised of Black and Brown people.
de Blasio further criticized Trump’s assessment in a tweet saying, “Only warped minds equate the words Black Lives Matter with violence. It’s a movement to recognize and protect the lives of Black people. Nobody’s surprised that makes you uncomfortable.”
This article originally appeared in ESSENCE.