City to paint “Black Lives Matter” murals on five streets

A Black lives matter sign is painted on a street in Washington, D.C.
A Black lives matter sign is painted on a street, during nationwide protests against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Washington, D.C., June 5, 2020. (Khalid Naji-Allah Executive Office of the Mayor)

The city will paint sprawling letters spelling out “Black Lives Matter” on five streets, one per borough, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday. A street in each borough will also be co-named “Black Lives Matter” to affirm the work of activists now protesting for the 13th day-in-a-row against police brutality. 

“With a street in every borough painted with the words Black Lives Matter, we are recognizing where we have been and looking to where we will go,” said de Blasio, whose administration will work with community activists to paint each street and commemorate the Black Lives Matter movement. Streets will look akin to the roadway mural near Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. 

A still undecided street near City Hall will be the first roadway painted, according to de Blasio, with the other four streets near “crucial” locations to be chosen with the help of the City Council. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and lower Manhattan City Councilmember Margaret Chin were credited with pushing the street renamings and painting forward. 

“Renaming and repainting a street is a modest testament to the massive challenge ahead of us,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “But in so doing we will, literally, set down a marker for our current goals and mark this era for future generations.”

“We need to continue to take down monuments of racism and replace them with unequivocal affirmations of racial justice and commitment to fighting for reforms that value and protect Black lives,” said Councilmember Chin. “Located in the heart of New York City’s Civic Center, this sign is a permanent reminder for elected officials, workers, visitors, and residents that this is more than just a rallying call, it’s a movement that requires our continued solidarity and full support.”