While “Black Lives Matter” has been painted on streets around the country, and most notably, in front of Trump Tower in New York City and in front of the White House, a different message was stopped outside of Planned Parenthood in Washington, DC. Activists from Students for Life of America were arrested for trying to write “Black Preborn Lives Matter.”
In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Warner Depriest from SFLA said this arrest was “a violation of our First Amendment right.” SFLA had a permit to paint on the street, and the organization complied with the DC police request they use a removable paint. Furthermore, the DC police have the organization a verbal notice their plan to paint the street wouldn’t be stopped.
SFLA President Kristin Hawkins told Carlson, “I couldn’t be more proud of Warner and Erica and the student leaders but more simultaneously afraid [for] our rights because this was clear what was happening was viewpoint discrimination. We have a mayor here in Washington, D.C., that painted the streets ‘Black Lives Matter,’ that allowed activists associated with the Black Lives Matter organization to then go without the permit and [in] permanent paint, paint ‘Defund the Police.”
As reported by NPR, the Department of Public Works has been seen touching up the paint of “Black Lives Matter,” street mural in New York City. Hawkins pointed out that they chose to paint “Black Preborn Lives Matter,” because Mayor Bowser “opened up the streets for public expression.” For example, “Defund the Police” was written under the mural “Black Lives Matter,” and no arrests were made. SFLA made sure to get the legal permission to paint on the street in front of Planned Parenthood, but it is clear the DC mayor disagreed with the message. Hawkin said that her response was to send six police cars.
Why this matters: Mayor Muriel Bowser was very outspoken about her allowance of “Black Lives Matter” street mural in Washington, DC. Painted right in front of the White House, there was a particular purpose to send a message to President Trump. But the arrest of SFLA employees shows the partisanship in these cities. Just like the large crowds that gathered together for the protests, while arguing against schools and churches reopening, we are seeing increased hypocrisy to where the rules for Americans are enforced, and where they can be broken .