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CEO DATELINE – U.S. Chamber to preserve Black Lives Matter artwork

Aug. 11, 2020
By Walt Williams

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking steps to preserve Black Lives Matter artwork that was posted on scaffolding surrounding its Washington, D.C., headquarters, which is currently undergoing renovation.

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The Chamber building is located across the street from Lafayette Square, a public park neighboring the White House. The area has been the center of BLM demonstrations in nation’s capital and at one point the Chamber scaffolding was set on fire during a protest, although the business group never said whether the building itself sustained any damage. Last year, the Chamber launched an 18-month project to renovate and preserve its historic headquarters, which was built in 1922.

Protestors have been hanging signs and art on fencing and buildings in the area, including the Chamber. The business group said Monday it is working with the District’s Department of Public Works to remove and safely store the artworks until they can be delivered to museums and other institutions. In addition, the Chamber is putting up temporary banners featuring photos of the art.

“The DC Public Library is honored to work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other partners to preserve these Black Lives Matter panels,” Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library, said in a statement. “These artifacts are critical to telling the District's story and the history of Americans protesting for racial equity.”

The Chamber also recently unveiled a new initiative to close business opportunity gaps for Black Americans.