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Reno Church Undeterred By Defacement of 'Black Lives Matter' Sign

Unitarian Universalist Association

  The pastor of a Reno church says he will continue to display the racial justice banner “Black Lives Matter” despite repeated acts of vandalism. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship first put up its banner in August, spurred by the national dialogue and media coverage of high-profile police shootings of African-Americans.

A day later, the sign had been spray painted over to read “White Lives Matter,” and that was only the first incident.

“We have unfortunately experienced theft and vandalism of our banner, our religious speech, on our campus at least eight times now…”

That’s Rev. Neal Anderson who says the attention they've received because of the defacement was never the point...

“I want it to be about the work that we are doing as a religious community … to engage in the work of creating a racially just community and country.”

Although disappointed by the episode, Anderson is not deterred.  

“We have made a commitment to replace our banner — our public witness to our religious values of the worth and dignity of every person, and the importance of the work for racial justice,” he says. “Because racism impacts all of us.”

Anderson says they have no plans to take the banner down and hope it will continue to spark meaningful dialogue.

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.