In 2016, the Unitarian Church in Westport hung a “Black Lives Matter” banner at its Lyons Plains Road entrance.
A few months later — just days after neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups marched in Charlottesville — the banner was ripped from its post.
Church officials replaced it — and added a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign next to it.
This time, it took just 5 days before it too was gone.
Another replacement was ordered.
Senior minister Rev. Dr. John Morehouse said, “Every time the banner is vandalized it fortifies our resolve to replace it and underscores the very need for its existence.”
Last week, the Unitarian Church sign was vandalized again. Written under the phrase “Black Lives Matter” was scrawled: “Is A Racist, Terrorist Organization.”
Someone then covered the graffiti with black tape, in an attempt to blot it out.
Each time haters struck, the church — well known for known for its commitment to diversity, inclusion, openness and social justice — contributes $100 to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Each time too, community reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Strangers have sent words of support, and offered to help pay for a new banner.
“Black Lives Matter is a movement dedicated to the proposition that black lives should matter as much as white lives do today,” Rev. Morehouse says.
“But the fact is that currently, white lives matter more by almost every measure. Our Unitarian Universalist faith community has been, and continues to be, dedicated to defeating racism. The fact of the matter is that Black Lives Matter is avowedly anti-racist in its call for black and brown lives to matter as much as white lives.”
Once again, the church will repair the sign.
Once again, representatives say, “it will remain as a testament to our community’s aspiration.”