Yesterday morning, we reported that the ground-level "Black Lives Matter" banner at the Hope Central Church on Seaverns Avenue had been vandalized. By the evening, we observed that somebody had papered over the damaged banner with flyers reasserting the banner's original message.
Now, we know who did the flyering.
Katie Ernst, the church's student minister, shared the photo above with Jamaica Plain News.
Here's how the banner looked Thursday evening:
And earlier in the day:
The church shared the following message Thursday on its Facebook page:
Every Sunday morning at Hope Central Church, during the announcements, we say that we are a congregation doing Racial Justice because our lives depend on it. And we ask you to pray for our People of Color, especially our people of African descent.
Here is why. Overnight, after our Ash Wednesday service, someone defaced our Black Lives Matter banner. You can see, someone painted over the word “Black.” This is how common racism works, a thousand tiny cuts, an erasure of of existence, a not seeing, a not hearing, a not believing, a not allowing another’s life and reality to be central, insisting on one’s own place at center. This is why I’m asking you to pray for our people of color today and always – for encouragement and support. But also so we may identify the strength and resilience inside us all, for the living through everyday racism.
We’re also asking you to pray for our congregation as we gather wisdom about how to respond to such defacement and erasure.
We’ve made a report to the police. We’ve called all of our people of African descent to tell them them news ourselves, to see how they are, to ask for their response.
We’re also contacting our local clergy and congregations, our newspapers, our neighbors.
Courtney and I have moved our Open Office Hours today to the sanctuary. We’re inviting you and our community to come, 4:30-6, to listen – Lillian will help us – to console, to sing, to rub off some of the paint, and to hang 20 new little Black Lives Matter signs on our defaced sign. Mary Lewis Pierce is coming and bringing her kids. You can come, too, and bring your children.
Here is what feels important, at least today. The sign is only a sign and a symbol of our divine commitment to be beloved community, the body of Christ. It feels so important to preserve our energy see after and care for our people of African descent and then to begin to know how we as individuals and as a congregation will interrupt the systems of racism that ensnare us all. We will not repay evil for evil, nor praise the devil. We will seek to love, educate, interrupt.
Love from your pastors,
Courtney and Laura Ruth