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Saturday, June 20, 2020


by Sally Zakariya

Arlington County [VA] workers power washed away Black Lives Matter chalk art in front of a home in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood this morning. An outraged neighbor posted on social media about the removal of the chalk art, which featured words and phrases like “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” “Justice 4 All,” “MLK,” and “BLM.” A portion of the art was on the county-owned sidewalk and road, while the rest was in the home’s driveway. “I am both saddened and outraged. My friend and colleague at Ashlawn has had a formal complaint made about her daughter’s chalk art on the driveway, sidewalk and street in front of their home,” wrote Dana Crepeau. “I spoke with the Arlington County employees, who did not want to remove the chalk but were told they must. I asked permission to post their photos.” —ARL now, June 19, 2020. Photo Credit: @dcsingerdc/Twitter)

There comes a time when silence is
betrayal.  –Martin Luther King Jr.

Justice for all–wise words chalked
in bright yellow down the driveway
spilling onto sidewalk and street

Words we must heed in these days
of reckoning, of reassessment
of long-delayed reparations

Black lives matter–words washed
away by county workers with power
hoses on this day of all days

Saddened and outraged say neighbors
who grab chalk and paint to make
words bloom from house to house

Silence is betrayal–it’s time
for us all to speak up

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 75 print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is Muslim Wife (Blue Lyra Press, 2019). She is also the author of The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology Joys of the Table. Zakariya blogs at