Located in El Paseo, California, the owner of the Denise Roberge Gallery has sparked national outrage thanks to a window display that he himself crafted. The display features white t-shirts with the slogan “White Lives Matter,” a slogan that has angered many residents and nearby business owners. The slogan is obviously trying to lampoon the popular slogan and social movement Black Lives Matter, which has become a household phrase in America since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police back in May 2020. Many residents have deemed the White Lives Matter slogan to be racist, claiming that it misses the entire point of the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s not just the public that is angry at the store’s display. Sales in the El Paseo area where the store is located have plummeted since many are actively staying away from the “offensive” message at the Denise Roberge Gallery. Because of this neighboring business owners have expressed their outrage at the display. One businessman, Mike Peterson, wants the display to disappear as soon as possible. Not only is it offensive, he says, but it is hurting his livelihood. He notes that many of his customers have expressed their complaints about the sign. Another local business owner, John Southorn of the Lotus Garden Center, worries that the display could permanently harm public opinion of the El Paseo area. He worries that displays like that could fuel anti-Black racism and anti-Black Lives Matter sentiments. He doesn’t want any harm to come to his beloved El Paseo community.

The Denise Roberge Gallery has been in the news several times for its marked support of Donald Trump. In the months leading up to the 2020 election, the store’s display featured the heads of many prominent democrats with duct tape over their mouths. He also displayed mannequins wearing Trump’s iconic red hats that say “Make America Great Again.” The City of Palm Desert released a statement saying that there is nothing they can do about the store’s displays. They say that because of the first amendment they are not allowed to tamper with the store’s freedom to display political messages. Business owners in the area think that the Gallery is engaging in this kind of political behavior due to the business’s financial struggles. They think that it is a ploy to win the support and dollars of Trump supporters. It’s possible, they say, that the store is only doing it for the free advertisement that it has gotten them. This may very well be true, but if it is, then the strategy is working. Millions across America have now heard about this little shop in El Paseo, California. It is unclear if or when the owner will take down the display or if he will listen to the complaints of his fellow small businessmen. It seems likely, however, that the Denise Roberge Gallery will continue to push political messages like these in its front window display for much of the foreseeable future.