Mayor Muriel Bowser’s progressive efforts are superficial


Graphic by Maisie Derlega

Soli Jacobson

Mayor Muriel Bowser isn’t as woke on Black Lives Matter as she seems. Some people think she has done her part with the creation of the Black Lives Matter plaza. Others think it’s a performative ruse. In my opinion, she hasn’t done enough at all.

When George Floyd was unjustly killed by a police officer, many people took to the streets in protest. The phrase “defund the police” was popularized during these protests. Defunding the police means redirecting funds away from the police department to other government agencies. The DC council offered a proposal of $15 million in cuts, Bowser argued for giving them a 3.3% increase. So instead of supporting Black Lives Matter and taking action to reevaluate, and reform, or defund the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), she is choosing to give them more money, effectively opposing the movement. She has also cut funding for services/organizations that are important and helpful to Black people, such as The Housing Production Trust Fund (an organization that creates and preserves affordable housing) which is important to the Black community because Black Americans face a lot of racism in the real-estate industry as well, making them more susceptible to homelessness. Cutting this affordable housing initiative means many Black DC residents might lose their homes or struggle even more to find a home, which is especially difficult during a pandemic.

Sure, Mayor Muriel Bowser made the Black Lives Matter Plaza. However, many people think this act was just a distraction. It did very little to actually benefit the Black communities in DC. Instead of taking real action, she simply painted a mural as an attempt to prove she was in support of BLM. The Plaza was a good idea, but there’s so much more that she could’ve done that she simply didn’t. She could’ve taken real action on reforming the MPD. She could’ve helped out black neighborhoods in DC. She could’ve funded affordable housing instead of cutting it.

It’s clear Mayor Bowser didn’t make the best decisions when it came to BLM. She should’ve paid attention to the requests and actually taken steps to help Black communities in DC. I wish I could say she had the right idea but… I’m not sure about that.