WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia residents came together at Black Lives Matter Plaza to create and replace signs that were town down over the weekend.
Residents said Black Lives Matter Plaza is more than just a portion of a road in the District, but a place for coming together and standing together. The wall of signs and artwork is an extension of that.
Community member Danielle Champ, who brought her 4-year-old and 9-year-old daughter to create new signs, said, “The simplest way I can say it is, treat it as if you put it up there and if it meant something to you. It might not mean anything to you, but it means something to somebody, so you need to respect that.”
Champ said her children have seen incidents across the city that were both negative and positive, and that’s why she felt the need to bring them to the family-friendly art event. “I like to show them that every situation is not always a bad situation, and there still are positive things going on in the city and that’s important for your children to know,” she said.
Champ’s nine year old daughter, Zyah Brown, is an emcee and rapper. She write her music with her parents about how she sees current events. Champ said, “It’s important because, you know, she’s going to talk about it in her song either way, bad or good.”
Brown rapped for WDVM’s reporter on the scene. The lyrics are below:
“If you could see what I see.
People screaming he can’t breathe.
Got his knee on his neck while they watching him plead.
Should’ve did the right thing, and just let him leave.
Now we marching in the streets. Justice, no peace. Say his name.
Elijah McClain, doves release.
Black Lives that Matter getting snatched by police. I’m sick and tired.
The President talkin and lyin, he should be fired. Obama come back, I’m cryin. You’re rehired.
We need you, our people are dyin. Had to inquire, they say there’s no hurting in trying.
Say his name. Rayshard Brooks life was took. Blessing could see his face in the sky when she looks.
Say his name. George Floyd is different but yet the same.
Gigi, you should be proud, your daddy done changed the game. Say her name.
The streets are congested. I’m suggestin Breonna Taylor’s killers be arrested with no question.”-Lyrics to Generation Speaks by Zyah Brown
Other community members spent hours creating and replacing signs. Xandra Coleman said, “Silence sides with the side of the oppressor. For these signs, that’s a statement. That is an active, anti-racist statement that we are here for Black lives, and they matter and we care and it’s important.”
Coleman said that replacing the signs as a community sends a simple statement to the country at large. “Hate can not win in this country and it’s time to stand up and keep coming and keep coming and keep coming until something actually changes,” she said.