Protesters raise money to protect artwork and messages attached to Lafayette Square fence

For months, the messages and artwork attached to the fence on the north end of Lafayette Square, near the White House, have sometimes been a source of tensions between racial justice protesters and supporters of President Donald Trump.

Now, after the recent Million MAGA March that saw some of the posters torn down, a new fundraising effort seeks to protect the messages from both winter weather and future confrontations.

Karen Irwin came to D.C. from New York a few months ago and hasn’t left. She recently started a GoFundMe to cover the costs of keeping up with the memorial, known to some as the BLM Memorial Wall.

Irwin has been working alongside Nadine Seiler, who has taken the lead on many of the efforts to keep that momentum going. “She’s been there since the fence went up, fixing things that fall off,” Irwin said.

The messages attached to the fence, they say on their funding page, are a manifestation of “our American rights to freedom of speech and freedom of protest.”

Now, the focus has turned to an effort to raise $10,000 for things such as generators, art supplies and money to pay volunteers. So far, they’ve raised almost $3,000.

“It would be great if we could make this something that is a grand collective. D.C. is exhausted and it’s time for the rest of the country to step in,” Irwin said.

They plan to raise enough money to last a few more weeks, at least through Inauguration Day, “and we will see what happens then, I guess,” she said.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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