Artist Simone Leigh has painted a massive tribute to Black Lives Matter on the street leading to the White House in Washington, D.C. Completed in permanent street paint with the assistance of numerous volunteers, activists, and DC city employees, the message features bold, yellow letters that span more than a block of 16th Street and marks a historic moment in the United States after weeks of protests.

Mayor Muriel Bowser commissioned the banner-style piece, which was started at 3 a.m. Friday morning ahead of weekend demonstrations. The new message is just two blocks north of Lafayette Square, where police charged peaceful protestors and released tear gas and flash-bang shells to clear the crowd for a photo-op for President Trump earlier this week. It sits at the foot of St. John’s Church.

Update: Black Lives Matter D.C. has denounced the public display, saying, “This is performative and a distraction from her active counter organizing to our demands to decrease the police budget and invest in the community. Black Lives Matter means Defund the police.”

This piece has been updated to add that artist Simone Leigh painted the mural with the assistance of DC city employees and volunteers.

 

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