Haverhill Church Says ‘Black Lives Matter’ Banner Stolen

A “Black Lives Matter” banner at Haverhill’s Universalist Unitarian Church.

Story updated with remarks of Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

Rev. Frank Clarkson.

Rev. Frank Clarkson.

The Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill reported Thursday a banner, declaring “Black Lives Matter,” was torn down and stolen earlier in the week.

The banner, which was first displayed Nov. 18, hung on the front of the church for 32 days. Its absence was noticed by a congregant Monday morning. Officials said a closer look revealed the banner was torn down by hand, leaving metal grommets behind. The police have been notified of the theft. The congregation plans to replace the banner.

“In our tradition we affirm that all lives matter, but in these days we feel compelled to assert in particular that Black Lives Matter, because there are too many instances when our society acts like they do not,” said Reverend Frank Clarkson, minister. “I would hope that people who disagree with this message would have the courage to come forward and have a conversation, rather than resorting to vandalism, especially directed at a faith community, and especially at Christmas.”

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini told WHAV Thursday night, the city is taking action. “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute,” he said.

In recent months, banners supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have been repeatedly vandalized or stolen from churches in Massachusetts and beyond. Unitarian Universalist churches in Arlington, Bedford and North Easton have all seen similar banners taken, or damaged to obscure the word “black.” The trend has touched churches of many denominations all over the country, church leaders said.

“Our intent was to start a conversation about the race problem in our country, to seek ways to move things forward in positive ways,” Clarkson said. “The fact that someone felt the need to tear that banner down and steal it confirms that there is work to do around race in our community.”

8 thoughts on “Haverhill Church Says ‘Black Lives Matter’ Banner Stolen

  1. Before our church put up the banner that reads “Our faith calls us to affirm Black Lives Matter,” I made an appointment with the Haverhill Police Department and had a conversation with three high-ranking officers there. My intent was to express my gratitude for the good work of the Haverhill Police Department and assure them that we do not see our support of BLM as as anti-police. Our friends in the Haverhill Police are as committed to justice as we in the church hope to be, and I am grateful for all the good they do for our city. I won’t debate the issues raised above in this forum, but I invite anyone who is opposed to our church taking this principled stand to meet me for a conversation about how we might make our society a more just one. I’ll even buy the coffee. You can reach me at [email protected] Thank you.

  2. Oh, enough of this tedious straw man. If I say raspberry ice cream is tasty, I’m not saying the other flavors are bad. There’s no contradiction. Why so defensive?

    Find me one instance, with a citation, of anyone actually asserting that non-black lives don’t matter, and we can talk. Bur I think all of you, despite your hypersensitive self-pity, already know full well that nobody ever meant that. Of course, literally, all lives matter–but as the preacher above said perfectly, there’s good reason to emphasize the black ones right now, because people keep killing black people routinely and casually in this country. That just doesn’t happen to white people in the same way, and despite all your whining, you know it.

    (Likewise, Jack–either you can cite an instance of somebody advocating cop-killing while waving or wearing that slogan, or you’re just blowing bubbles and everyone’s going to ignore you. Personally I think you’re making it up to suit your own paranoid fantasy of being the persecuted one.)

    • Obviously you don’t pay close attention at times huh ? This so-called movement were screaming about killing cops in N.Y. city. You can hide your head in the sand if you like but I for one will not allow these folks to stir trouble creating an even more dangerous environment for cops. Blacks are being killed by BLACKS more than by any other race or demographic. I think it’s around 75% or so. Look at the stats and get back to me. I don’t need to make stuff up either. The plot writes itself all too often. See: Chicago every weekend.

  3. Black Lives Matter is an official hate group!!

    Rev. Clarkson can you explain supporting an organization that publicly calls for the killing of cops all across this country?

    BLM is worse than the KKK yet because they are blacks progressives fall in behind them in supporting their outrageous, violent movement.