In Washington, D.C., directly north of the White House, 16th Street NW is painted with the slogan, “Black Lives Matter,” in large yellow letters. This has inspired similar street art across the country (the images here are from Oakland, California). The street art was sanctioned and supported by D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, and now a group with an opposing message wants permission to add art to another D.C. street. Judicial Watch, a conservative organization, is asking Mayor Bowser for her blessing to decorate a Capitol Hill street with the words, “Because No One is Above the Law!”
The right-wing organization has only two other efforts it’s backing with petitions at the moment: wishing its founder a happy birthday, and demanding that Hillary Clinton face charges for keeping emails on a private server. They have not made any apparent moves to have the Trump administration questioned about similar activity, using personal email addresses and unsecured accounts, including WhatsApp, though the Washington Post reported over a year ago that at least seven Trump team members had been using communication other than official channels for White House business.
Judicial Watch says they only want equal access, after, they say, “Mayor Bowser made a decision to turn DC streets into a forum for public expression.”
Tom Fitton, speaking in his role as president of the organization, says that he cannot be subjected to ‘viewpoint discrimination,’ and should be allowed to paint “Because No One Is Above the Law!” as a message to “protestors, looters, and rioters,” on a D.C. street. He’s requesting an official response within three business days.
Speaking to NPR about the Black Lives Matter street banner earlier this month, Mayor Bowser described federal forces as occupying parts of D.C., and said that the message was an affirming one after the people were able to reclaim the street. She described her job as defending the population of D.C., including against government imposition on the First Amendment. “Peaceful protest is a hallmark of our democracy, and the federal government should not be advancing on Americans who are peacefully protesting.”
What's Your Reaction?
Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com