DC Church Erects 16-Foot Black Lives Matter Sign Ahead Of Trump Rally In The District
The sign comes as a powerful statement as less than a month earlier, members of the Proud Boys burned and destroyed Black Lives Matter banners which belonged to Black churches.
January 06, 2021 at 7:14 am
While supporters of President Donald Trump plan to hold a rally on Wednesday in Washington D.C., hoping to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election at the last minute, church leaders in the District have unveiled a 16-foot Black Lives Matter banner on the same day, ABC13 reported.
National City Christian Church, a prominent DC church in downtown DC near Metropolitan AME and Luther Place, just unfurled a massive new Black Lives Matter banner. pic.twitter.com/AZpQ4q7tUc
— Jack Jenkins (@jackmjenkins) January 6, 2021
According to the National City Christian Church, its decision to erect the banner is in response to "ongoing fearmongering and racial hatred."
"With thousands of President Donald J. Trump supporters and self-proclaimed white nationalists descending on the streets of the nation's capital, National City Church will once again, as had been its long-storied history, stand boldly for civil rights and freedoms of Black and brown American people," the church stated.
On Dec. 12, a Proud Boys leader took credit for tearing down and burning a Black Lives Matter banner that hung outside Asbury United Methodist Church. The sign was ripped again after it was replaced a week later.
“At least five congregations have had Black Lives Matter signs destroyed [and] stolen,” Terry Lynch, spokesperson for the Downtown Cluster of Congregations representing the historic Black churches downtown, said.
Multiple people were also stabbed on December 12 when the Proud Boys clashed with counter-protesters in Washington, D.C. In regards to the vandalism on that night, church senior pastor Rev. Lanther M. Mills said the attack was reminiscent of cross burnings.
“Last night demonstrators who were part of the MAGA gatherings tore down our Black Lives Matter sign and literally burned it in the street. It pained me especially to see our name, Asbury, in flames," Mills said in a statement.
The National City Christian Church said its 16-foot banner, which is erected from the front columns of the church, is being raised on the morning of "unprecedented action in the U.S. Congress to deny President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. the presidency of a fair and free national election."
"As followers of Jesus Christ, we reject the president’s call to violence and continue to proclaim that Black Lives Matter,” interim senior minister, the Rev. Dr. Amy Butler said in a statement. “We oppose the ideals of white supremacy and white Christian nationalism, and declare that our church will continue to be a place of peace and healing."
According to NBC Washington, street closures are already in effect as numerous demonstrations are expected on Wednesday in D.C., where Trump says he’ll speak to supporters at the “Save America” rally. The protests are planned to take place between the Freedom Plaza to the Ellipse, as well as on the steps of the Capitol and the National Mall, where a group called Silent Majority will hold a rally at noon.
"We're trying to ensure that we have a fair and accurate counting of the election. We've had kind of an unprecedented year with COVID and we've had tens of millions of mail-in ballots that went out. And I think it's left a lot of uncertainty to a lot of people in the country," James Epley, founder of Silent Majority, said.
With Mayor Muriel Bowser calling for people to stay away from the downtown area during the protests on Wednesday, National City Christian Church will be closed.
"I think faith communities in this moment can be voices that call us to peace and justice. There’s no reason we should be in the streets committing violence toward one another. We’re only better when we build each other up," Butler said.
Butler added that it's important for the church to speak up at this time.
"It seems like it’s important to use our platform to proclaim in this moment what we feel that our faith is compelling us to say, which is that we reject violence and that we believe that Black lives matter and that our faith compels us to say that," she said.
"It's just awful," Rebecca Robinson, one of the artists, said in a Facebook Live video. "It's just so disappointing because everybody worked so hard."
According to the Miami Herald, similar incidents have occurred in places such as California, Utah, Ohio, Illinois and Florida. In Chicago, one Black Lives Matter sign was altered to say "All Lives Matter."
“This is a reminder that if white folks can’t give us a small mural on a side street in Oak Park, they won’t be able to give up much,” Mak Flournoy, a Chicago resident, said. “Sadly, I think that if they aren’t ready for this then they certainly won’t be ready for the things to really make this country, and this village and state better.”