Protesters have transformed White House fencing into an artistic monument to racial justice

AP Images | Jacquelyn Martin

In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, people across the country have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and champion equal rights for Black Americans.

Now, protestors in our nation’s capital have made sure the message can be seen from the White House. Along a newly-installed temporary fence that surrounds the U.S. president’s residence in Washington, D.C., there now hangs a number of signs used in protests over the past two weeks, making for an ad hoc tribute to Black lives.

On June 7, Washington Post reporter Hannah Natanson took to Twitter to share a short video showing the fence covered in signs:

“The fence outside the White House has been converted to a crowd-sourced memorial wall — almost like an art gallery — to black men and women who lost their lives at the hands of police,” she explained in the accompanying tweet. “Hundreds are strolling, looking, adding names and paintings and posters.”

George Floyd was killed on May 25 when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, prompting widespread outrage and calls for police reform. The officer has since been charged with murder. The fencing, which extends for more than a mile, went up last week to keep protestors at bay following the release of video footage showing Floyd’s last minutes.

@CarolineWinslow also shared images of the fence on Twitter, writing, “The temporary fence around the White House & Layfette Square has turned into a memorial as well as a place for people to leave their protest signs #DCProtests”:

The signs bear the phrases “Black Lives Matter,” “Stop Killing Us” and “End Police Brutality,” among other messages calling for an end to racism.

Instagram user @kellitomalis posted an image of a protestor in a face mask outside the fence, holding a sign that says, “Rethink public safety.”

This section of the fence, posted by Instagrammer Paul Buckley, includes a sign that says, “They thought they could bury us, but they did not know we were seeds.”

The National Park Service issued a statement saying that most of the temporary fencing will be removed by Wednesday, June 10, according to The Washington Post. However, some barriers will remain in areas that are damaged or where there are safety hazards.

“We’ve made this a shrine,” Bisa Williams, a former U.S. ambassador to Niger, told the newspaper of the fence.

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Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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