NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Mayor Bill de Blasio, first lady Chirlane McCray and the Rev. Al Sharpton helped paint a giant Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower on Thursday.
The mayor was seen holding a large paint roller as he filled in a section of the mural with bright yellow paint.
But perhaps more notable, is that members of the Central Park Five -- the Black and Latino men who were arrested as teenagers and wrongfully convicted in the high-profile 1989 jogger attack -- were also on hand to paint the mural.
Donald Trump famously took out a full-page ads in newpapers calling for New York state to adopt the death penalty after the attack. The ads never explicitly called for the death penalty for the five defendants.
"We are not denigrating anything, we are liberating Fifth Avenue," de Blasio said, referencing President Donald Trump, who last week tweeted that the mural was a "symbol of hate" and that the city was "denigrating this luxury Avenue."
"We are uplifting Fifth Avenue," the mayor said. "Who built this city? Who built this nation and never got the acknowledgement, the recognition, the compensation? So when we say, 'Black Lives Matter,' there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement, because there is no America without Black America."
The mayor added: "Let's show Donald Trump what he does not understand. Let's paint it right in front of his building for him."
Work began on the mural early Thursday, when the Department of Transportation shut down the block of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.
Workers stenciled in the letters around 7 a.m. before dozens of people started painting the mural a few hours later.
De Blasio confirmed last week that the mural would be painted, prompting this tweet from Trump: "This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the.....horrible BLM chant, 'Pigs In A Blanket, Fry 'Em Like Bacon.' Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!"
During an interview on MSNBC last week, de Blasio said, "We’re going to take this moment in history and amplify it by taking the Black Lives Matter symbolism and putting it all over this city, including right in front of Trump Tower."
“It’s an important message to the whole nation, and obviously we want the president to hear it, because he’s never shown respect for those three words,” de Blasio said. “When he hears Black Lives Matter, he presents a horrible, negative reality of something that doesn’t exist, and he misses the underlying meaning that we’re saying we have to honor the role of African Americans in our history and in our society.”
A three-block stretch of Centre Street in lower Manhattan was also officialy co-named Black Lives Matter Boulevard on Thursday.
In Brooklyn, two streets have already been painted with "Black Lives Matter" murals near Borough Hall and in Bedford-Stuyvesant.