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Black Lives Matter sign vandalized at Bethesda UU church

ChurchSignVandalizedWJLA.JPG

Montgomery County Police are investigating an act of vandalism at a church in Bethesda.

Sometime Tuesday night, River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation members said a banner outside the church reading "black lives matter" was targeted.

Church administrator Ana Lim said, “It was very shocking and very disheartening.”

The vandal cut a large hole in the sign, removing the word “black.” It appears a razor blade was used. Now, some church members consider this a hate crime.

Lim said, “I think they were trying to make their message clear that they don't agree with the values that we stand for.”

Church member Nancy Cedar said, “You think, oh, kids are fooling around. This was no fooling around. This was serious.”

In a couple of days, the church said the damaged banner will be replaced with another one with the very same message. If vandalism happens again, congregants said they will only put up another sign.

Church board member Susan Cummins said, “We are committed to making public our concerns about racism in the U.S. and supporting the black lives matter movement.”

Driving by on busy River Road, some said they found the banner silly. One man called it offensive. “If black lives matter, other lives don't matter? Hispanic lives, white lives, Asian lives? Sounds racial to me,” he said.

Since Ferguson, the phrase “black lives matter” has become a protest rallying cry. It has also become a campaign issue.

Martin O'Malley recently apologized, after getting booed for saying "all lives matter" at a campaign forum. Then, Jeb Bush criticized O'Malley.

“If he believes white lives matter, then he shouldn't apologize to a group that seemed to disagree with him,” Bush said.

Church members said the phrase on their banner is not anti-white or anti-police. Instead, they said it is meant to focus attention on injustice and discrimination in the black community.

“When you fall back to the all lives matter phrase, you seek to dismiss the significance and the challenges that African Americans face today,” said church member Vonna Heaton.Montgomery County Police are investigating an act of vandalism at a church in Bethesda.

Sometime Tuesday night, River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation members said a banner outside the church reading "black lives matter" was targeted.

Church administrator Ana Lim said, “It was very shocking and very disheartening.”

The vandal cut a large hole in the sign, removing the word “black.” It appears a razor blade was used. Now, some church members consider this a hate crime.

Lim said, “I think they were trying to make their message clear that they don't agree with the values that we stand for.”

Church member Nancy Cedar said, “You think, oh, kids are fooling around. This was no fooling around. This was serious.”

In a couple of days, the church said the damaged banner will be replaced with another one with the very same message. If vandalism happens again, congregants said they will only put up another sign.

Church board member Susan Cummins said, “We are committed to making public our concerns about racism in the U.S. and supporting the black lives matter movement.”

Driving by on busy River Road, some said they found the banner silly. One man called it offensive. “If black lives matter, other lives don't matter? Hispanic lives, white lives, Asian lives? Sounds racial to me,” he said.

Since Ferguson, the phrase “black lives matter” has become a protest rallying cry. It has also become a campaign issue.

Martin O'Malley recently apologized, after getting booed for saying "all lives matter" at a campaign forum. Then, Jeb Bush criticized O'Malley.

“If he believes white lives matter, then he shouldn't apologize to a group that seemed to disagree with him,” Bush said.

Church members said the phrase on their banner is not anti-white or anti-police. Instead, they said it is meant to focus attention on injustice and discrimination in the black community.

“When you fall back to the all lives matter phrase, you seek to dismiss the significance and the challenges that African Americans face today,” said church member Vonna Heaton.

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