Chalk washes away with the next rain, and there's plenty of both in Washington state. But that's not stopping authorities in Selah, Wa., from threatening people who chalk "Black Lives Matter" on sidewalks with a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
As the 10 protesters covered parts of their artwork with their bodies, a city worker walked between them, spraying away the exposed parts of their messages and sending tubs of chalk tumbling into the street. The young activists, wet from the washing, watched in silence and held up signs that were outside the reach of the pressure washer.
"Hate has no home in Selah," one of them said.
The standoff last week was just one of a growing series of conflicts between conservative leaders of Selah, a community with only a few dozen Black residents, and young people from a wide range of backgrounds who believe the city is long overdue for a conversation about race.
The problem, of course, is that authorities aren't much interested in conversation.