What civil rights law has become.
By mid-June, Black Lives Matter posters hung in every smashable storefront window on Connecticut Avenue between Dupont Circle and Lafayette Square, the public park in front of the White House. Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser had barred automobile traffic from a two-block stretch of nearby 16th Street and renamed it Black Lives Matter Plaza. Municipal street crews stenciled “BLACK LIVES MATTER” onto the pavement in yellow letters six lanes high. The street became a pit stop for demonstrators and sympathizers who milled through Lafayette Square in the heat, with their t-shirts and their handmade signs, their megaphones and (later) their ropes for pulling down statues.
Donald Trump’s neighborhood has changed since a cellphone video captured the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25. In the window of the Proper Topper millinery shop it now reads “Justice and Unity.” Un je ne sais Quoi, the croissant shop across the street, has announced it is joining a consortium of Bakers Against Racism. The boxy national headquarters of the AFL-CIO has been capped with a form-fitting BLACK LIVES MATTER sheath that makes it look like a petit-four. On the statue dedicated to Admiral David Farragut a rioter has written, in big red letters: “F— 12…. Put MLK Here,” “12” being ghetto slang for the cops. Northbound up 14th Street, in