Black Lives Matter Banner Stolen from Unitarian Universalist Church

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading (UUCR) has proudly displayed a Black Lives Matter banner on the corner of Summer Avenue and Woburn Street since 2020. In recent months, this banner has been stolen three times.

The banner was first stolen the weekend of Reading’s Juneteenth celebration. At that time, Rev. Dr. Laura Solomon, minister at UUCR, began conversations with the Board of Trustees and sent a letter to the congregation calling all into conversation about the incident. “Our faith calls us to live our values out loud,” Rev. Solomon wrote. “When actions like this occur, we are called into dialogue with one another and with our community: what does it mean that this happened here? How do we respond?”

This banner was stolen on February 10 from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading.

The banner was quickly replaced, but was stolen again in January on Martin Luther King, Jr weekend. Rev. Solomon called the congregation to action after this second event, stating, “It is clear that this timing is intentional, and stealing our banner on these dates intensifies these acts of hate… As a faith community, we are called to engage our larger community in the work of love, justice, and liberation.”

Over the following weeks, the congregation hung a homemade banner proclaiming “Our sign was stolen. Black Lives Matter.” This banner was stolen on February 10.  

Rev. Solomon was clear that “when it comes down to it, a banner is just a banner,” and that the real work and commitment becomes apparent in “the promises we make to each other…[t]hat we might answer the call of dismantling white supremacy culture within ourselves, our organizations, and our society.”

Rev. Solomon and leaders from UUCR met with Albert Pless, the Director for Equity and Social Justice in Reading, and with Aymon Langlois, who works with Mr. Pless, to discuss next steps – both for UUCR specifically and for ongoing antiracism work in Reading.  

On March 9, UUCR is hosting Black Lives Matter: A Multifaith Gathering for Commitment. UUCR is working with the Reading Clergy Association and the Office of Equity and Social Justice to plan a multi-faith service of learning and commitment as we expand our vision of equity, justice, and liberation in Reading. Join us from 1 – 3PM on March 9th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, 239 Woburn St, Reading, MA 01867. This service will be followed by opportunities for fellowship, discussion, and planning further engagement with anti-racism work in Reading. 

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