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New York City paints "Black Lives Matter" in front of Trump Tower

Painting "Black Lives Matter" at Trump Tower
Painting "Black Lives Matter" at Trump Tower 00:54

Work on another Black Lives Matter mural in New York City started on Thursday — this one situated directly in front of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. President Trump previously slammed plans to paint it.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the new mural will send a message that "Black lives, in fact, do matter," CBS New York reports.

"That Black people built New York City, that they've never been compensated for all they did, that all the mistakes, the sins, everything in American history that has afflicted Black people have not been accounted for and must be accounted for — something he does not understand," he said last month. "So it is right to take the eyes of the world, the attention of the world right there on Fifth Avenue and focus on Black Lives Matter."

Racial Injustice New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio, third from left, participates in painting Black Lives Matter on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in New York. The mayor's wife, Chirlane McCray, is fourth from left and Rev. Al Sharpton is second from left. Mark Lennihan / AP

De Blasio helped paint the mural on Thursday, joined by his wife Chirlane McCray as well as Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton posted a video of the event on Instagram in which onlookers can be heard chanting: "No justice, no peace."

"When we say 'Black Lives Matter,' there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement because there is no America without Black America," de Blasio said, The Associated Press reports. "We are acknowledging the truth of ourselves as Americans by saying 'Black Lives Matter.' We are righting a wrong."

President Trump wrote in a pair of tweets last week that de Blasio "is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue," and he predicted that doing so would "further antagonize" the New York Police Department, which, he said, "vividly" remembers the "horrible BLM chant, 'Pigs in A Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon.'" 

The NYPD, he suggested, might not "let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York's greatest street."

According to CBS New York, Fifth Avenue will be closed between 56th and 57th Streets until Sunday morning to finish the mural.  

Racial Injustice New York
Black Lives Matter is painted on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower, Thursday, July 9, 2020, in New York. Mark Lennihan/AP

Other BLM murals have already been painted in HarlemStaten Island and Brooklyn. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser started the trend by having the message painted on a street in front of the White House.

The Black Lives Matter movement was started in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin. Since the BLM movement began, its name, intended as an "affirmation of Black folks' humanity," according to the organization's website, has become a political flashpoint. 

A common rebuttal, "all lives matter," may seem to some like an inclusive remark, but it is actually hurtful and fundamentally misrepresents the movement, some members of the Black community emphasized to CBS News. That response was recently used by Vice President Mike Pence on "Face The Nation."

Why "all lives matter" is a hurtful thing to ... 05:14

According to BLM's website, "Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks' humanity, our contributions to this society, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression."

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