The Montpelier City Council met in emergency session Friday to approve the closing of State Street between Taylor Street and Bailey Ave from 7 am to 2 pm Saturday, June 13, to allow volunteers to paint “Black Lives Matter” in the section of the street in front of the State House.
The lettering is expected to be similar to that painted on 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C., near the White House.
The street painting is an extension of protests against police brutality against African-Americans around the country in the wake of the recent killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
More than 5,000 people attended a rally in Montpelier on June 7.
Republican Gov. Phil Scott released a statement in support of the action:
“This is a moment where we can effect real change, both systematically and in the hearts and minds of all Americans. But that is going to take hard work, and an ongoing, daily effort to listen, learn and rethink how we do things. So, I support the City’s move to paint the Black Lives Matter message on State Street because I think it will be a necessary reminder that we must make equity a priority and use this movement to drive real action that will benefit all of Vermont.”
The City Council in its special session also voted to fly a Black Lives Matter flag above City Hall and approved an ordinance change that eases restrictions on “parklets,” in which private business owners can use certain areas of the public sidewalk or street to expand their business operation.
Montpelier High School in 2018 became the first Vermont school to raise the BLM flag and this year it raised at the Main Street Middle School.