Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser took $3 million in coronavirus aid funding from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue plan to make Black Lives Matter (BLM) Plaza permanent.

The federal government has spent over $5 trillion in coronavirus aid to alleviate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown policies. However, it appears that D.C. has used coronavirus aid funding to continue virtue signaling. 

D.C. Mayor Bowser announced in July 2021 that the city would begin construction to make the BLM plaza a permanent fixture of the nations’ capitol. The mayor said that in October that the construction was complete. 

Bowser said in a statement:

When we created Black Lives Matter Plaza in June 2020, we sent a strong message that Black Lives Matter, and that power has always been and always will be with well-meaning people. Today, we have transformed the mural into a monument. One of my proudest memories of Black Lives Matter Plaza is when, in his final days, Congressman John Lewis came to see it for himself. He recognized Black Lives Matter Plaza as good trouble, and we know it will remain a gathering place for reflection, planning and action, as we work toward a more perfect union.

Bowser said that the city will spend $7.8 million on the project, $3 million which “will create a more cohesive public space around the monument by reconstructing nearby sidewalks, installing commemorative works, and adding new benches, lighting, signage, and street trees.”

A D.C. stimulus request obtained by Breitbart News shows that Bowser’s fiscal year 2022 budget allocated $3 million from an American Rescue Plan (ARP) request for stimulus funding to make BLM Plaza permanent. Biden signed the American Rescue Plan early into his administration to boost coronavirus aid. 

This revelation follows as America just crossed the one-year anniversary of the passage of the American Rescue Plan.

Mayor Bowser pursued $3 million in coronavirus aid funding for the BLM Plaza at a time that the city experienced a historic spike in crime. In 2021, when Bowser wanted to make the BLM Plaza permanent, the city had experienced over 202 homicides, which is the highest number since 2003. In 2021 alone, D.C. had cut more than $9.5 million from its police budget. 

Now, Bowser’s approval rating have dropped as her constituents have become increasingly concerned about the rising crime in Washington, DC.

Bowser’s fiscal year 2021-2025 Federal Recovery Budget allocates $3 million from the ARP for use in the fiscal year 2022 to “construct new sidewalks as part of the design for the permanent BLM Plaza. D.C. The D.C. budget director approved the city council’s budget. 

The D.C. Council passed the budget and Bowser subsequently signed it into law in September 2021. The Bowser approved $18.5 million from ARP for “streetscapes and beautification.” 

Further complicating matters, the D.C. government hired a “white firm” to complete the BLM Plaza renovation after Mayor Bowser had made supporting black-owned businesses in D.C. a priority for her administration. 

In August 2020, Bowser proclaimed the month to be “Black Business Month” to “encourage citywide support of Black businesses.”

She also proclaimed the week of November 7-14 as “DMV Black Restaurant Week” to “[provide] support to Black-owned restaurants and food service providers:”

Bowser also called on the public to support “Black businesses on #BlackFriday:”

In May 2021, she had also launched a disparity study “to examine the availability and utilization of minority-and women-owned businesses under the city’s procurement and contracting activities.”

The Washington Informer reported that Bowser awarded the BLM Plaza renovation contract to a “white firm” and black contractors were not seriously considered for the project.

Black construction contractors felt slighted by the controversy. 

Nigel Parkinson, president and CEO of Parkinson Construction, said a black firm could have been considered for the project. 

Parkinson said:

While it could not have been challenging to find a Black contractor for this project, there is a much bigger problem that overshadows that particular slight. The problem is the lack of economic empowerment and inclusion of available Black businesses in the District and beyond. Mayor Bowser noted that her dedication [in 2020] was for ‘every Black and Brown American who has experienced injustice’. However, to show her enthusiasm for inclusiveness and justice, many Black contractors feel Mayor Bowser should have done more to ensure that the project was completed by a qualified Black business.

Nancee Lyons, a public affairs specialist for Bowser’s office, said in an email to Bower staff, which was obtained by Breitbart News, that BLM Plaza artists should be “consulted,” as there is “a long way toward folks feeling like there a level of racial inclusiveness in a project that is very racial.”

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