The de Blasio administration will work with community leaders, advocates and the City Council to determine which streets will be co-named “Black Lives Matter.” Local activists and artists will be enlisted to paint the words on each road.
At his daily press briefing last week, the mayor explained that the idea to rename streets emerged from an earlier conversation at Gracie Mansion that included leaders of community-based organizations, as well as Eric Garner’s mother Gwenn Carr.
“It's time to do something to recognize the power of the fundamental idea of black lives matter,” recounted De Blasio. “The idea that so much of American history has wrongly renounced, but now must be affirmed.”
“What will be clear in the street name and on the streets of our city is that message that this city must fully, deeply feel,” he added.
The mayor’s announcement came as state lawmakers were in the process of passing a series of police reform bills in response to more than a week of citywide protests against police brutality and systemic oppression.
Iesha Sekou, founder and CEO of anti-violence organization Street Corner Resources, also spoke at the press conference, saying that despite the “good vibrations” the city’s gesture emits, there is still much work that needs to be done.
“I would be remiss if I stood here and didn't talk about those mothers and grandmothers like myself,” said Sekou, who has a 23-year-old grandson.
“We also want to make sure that police are not allowed to act in the way that we've been seeing,” she added. “I'm grateful for the conversations that we're having, I'm looking forward to those conversations turning into action.”
On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order mandating every local police department in New York State enact collaborative and comprehensive police reform plans by April 1, 2021. It is still unclear how the city will move forward on that front.