Stretching a block long, city residents led by the mayor and Rev. Al Sharpton painted a large mural of Black Lives Matter in big yellow block letters in front of Trump Tower of Fifth Avenue.
Scores of volunteers, with the help of the Department of Transportation, painted the big block letters in defiance of President Trump who said it would ” ruin the luxury strip.”
The mayor was joined by his wife Chirlane McCray, Rev. Sharpton, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and a host of Black activists who hailed the project as “sending a message” to the president who they claim has not been sensitive to their concerns on race in the country.
“Here’s what matters to remember – we are making a statement today of what we value in New York City,” de Blasio said. “We are making a statement of what matters. When I announced that we would be doing this here, President Trump said that we would be denigrating the luxury of Fifth Avenue. Let me tell you, we are not denigrating anything. We are liberating Fifth Avenue.”
Anthony Beckford, president of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn, joined in the painting with many other leaders.
“We are sending a message to the president that he needs to pay attention to black lives matter,” Beckford said. “He needs to know that racism in this country will not be tolerated.”
Mayor de Blasio also was heckled by some Trump supporters who appeared at his arrival, calling him names as he joined those painting the mural. The mayor also took some glee in hearing that the Manhattan District Attorney won his suit in Supreme Court seeking eight years of tax documents.
“When we say that everyone is accountable under the law, whether they wear a business suit or a uniform, everyone is accountable, we are saying Black Lives Matter,” he said. “And when we say, with the help of our First Lady, that we are going to examine every part of this city, every institution, every agency to identify the institutional racism and tear it down, we are saying Black Lives Matter in New York City.”
Also on hand was Azia, a BET television personality on the reality show “Hustle in Brooklyn,” lent a hand with a paint roller.
“We are all part of the human race so all lives matter, but however, this is about black lives matter because we have been held down for so long, passed by dealing with issues and were made to feel small. The fact that change is happening matters, recognition matters – but yea, black lives matter.”
De Blasio and the mural was not without detractors. A handful of Trump supporters showed and faced off with some of the painters saying “all lives matter,” some critical that the mural wasn’t “necessary.”
“It shouldn’t be about anyone being better than the other because all lives matter – my life, your life, their life – we all matter,” said Karen Braun of Brooklyn.
Meanwhile, the Naked Cowboy showed for the event, a Trump supporter, but he gently strummed his guitar singing songs.