MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A Miami Beach hotel owner raised some eyebrows when he hung up a socially conscious banner.
That man told Local 10 News he hung the Black Lives Matter banner out of love and respect.
It remained in place for more than three months, until code enforcement came knocking.
“The banner is a silent protest, in solidarity with the Black community, Black Lives Matter, and our neighborhood,” said Alexander Guerra, owner of The Gaythering.
No stranger to activism, Guerra was in the streets, demonstrating across South Florida in the days following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
DePaul Vera is a local artist who was commissioned by Guerra to make the banner, which reads:
“I can’t breathe” Rest in Power George Floyd #BlackLivesMatter
It has been hanging outside the hotel since May.
On Friday of last week, cofe enforcement officials stopped by.
“After receiving, what they said, was several complaints,” said Guerra. “They had us cut it, immediately.”
Said Vera: “I don’t understand why a banner of this caliber is hurtful to people in such a way. This man’s life was taken.”
Local 10 reached out to the City of Miami Beach.
A spokesperson told Local 10 News’ Layron Livingston that the complaint about the banner came in anonymously.
One important thing to note is that banners are prohibited under Miami Beach City Code without a permit.
“Which we did not know we needed on our own property,” Guerra said. “Particularly with a free speech banner.”
Local 10 learned that after calling, the city manager gave the ‘OK’ for the banner to hang once again, under the condition that the hotel applies for a permit.
“I hope that we are able to, again, continue this discussion,” said Vera.
Added Guerra: “They’re complaining about us today. They’ll complain about someone else tomorrow. It’s our duty to continue to spread our message.”
Guerra plans to get the permit on Tuesday morning.
He said in his opinion, saying Black Lives Matter isn’t promoting his hotel or his bar, and that despite what some may say, it isn’t a political message.