Clarkson to Address ‘Black Lives Matter’ Myths On Open Mike Show

Rev. Frank Clarkson, minister, Universalist Unitarian Church.

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

The “Black Lives Matter” banner, as it hung at at Haverhill’s Universalist Unitarian Church.

The minister of Haverhill’s Universalist Unitarian Church will discuss the recent theft of a “Black Lives Matter” banner at the church and address public reactions to the vandalism Monday during WHAV’s Open Mike Show.

Rev. Frank Clarkson set out to answer myths Thursday about the Black Lives Matter movement and misconceptions about the church’s support. In a comment at, Clarkson explained he met with Haverhill Police before the church erected the banner Nov. 18.

“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 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,” Clarkson wrote.

The Universalist Unitarian Church has received support from Haverhill police and Mayor James J. Fiorentini. “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute,” the mayor said.

The banner’s absence was noticed Monday, Dec. 21. Church members said a close look revealed the banner was torn down by hand, leaving metal grommets behind. The congregation plans to replace the banner.

Haverhill Church Among Many Others Targeted by Vandals

Early in December, Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association, reported 17 congregations that posted Black Lives Matter banners had been vandalized up until that time.

“Terrible events have forced us to face the reality of oppression in America once again. And the reality that racism is stronger now and is more flagrant than it was just a few years ago,” Morales said in a video aimed at those church congregations that had suffered vandalism. “I know you’re probably getting pushback from many quarters—a lot of that based on a misunderstanding of what the Black Lives Matters movement stands for. It’s not about saying some lives are more important than others. It’s about drawing our attention to horrible injustice,” he told member churches.

Myths About Black Lives Matters Traced to Fox Television

A number of media outlets identified Fox television as the source of false claims about the Black Lives Matter movement. Networks hosts, for example, incorrectly linked a lone gunman, who shot and killed Harris County, Texas, Deputy Darren Goforth in September, to the group. Based on the untrue conclusion, Fox host Bill O’Reilly called the movement a “hate group.”

Clarkson joined the Haverhill Church as minister during August, 2008. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he received his Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge in 2004 and was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2005. For three years he served as the assistant minister at the North Parish of North Andover. Haverhill’s Universalist Unitarian traces its roots to the founding church of Haverhill, First Parish (Unitarian), formed in 1645.

The Open Mike Show with host Tim Coco begins at 6:30 p.m., Monday. The program may be viewed at and HC Media Channel 22 on Comcast in Haverhill. Audio may also be heard at, participating cable television stations across the Merrimack Valley, Apple TV’s Golden Oldies group and Tunein (available on Web, smartphone and television apps).

8 thoughts on “Clarkson to Address ‘Black Lives Matter’ Myths On Open Mike Show

  1. I don’t need anyone to “explain” the “Black Lives Matter” movement to me, in view of the ever-escalating violence against people of color in this increasingly hate-based, hate-filled “beloved country” of ours. Now that ever-more cities and police departments are moving toward required body-cams, and certain police department personnel about the country are complaining that those body-cams are “making [us] afraid to do [our] jobs. Really? Why might that be? Is there something about legitimate law enforcement activity that would horrify ordinary citizens if we were to see it happening? Am VERY glad to hear that Reverend Clarkson and Haverhill’s UU community have found support among Haverhill city government and police department in their affiliation with the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Now, particularly in view of the UU “Social Justice Committee’s” scheduled “Bridges out of Poverty Forum”, we might take on the “Poor Lives Matter”, “Mentally Ill Lives Matter”, “Social Justice-Oriented Lives Matter” police violence issues? Yes, of course “All Lives Matter”. But not all people – or lives – are yet truly seen as qualifying under the “All Lives” rubric. And most States, communities have yet to deal with the growing evidence that police department and/or “police-like” employment is too-often sought – and gained – by human beings with innate sociopathic tendencies. Until ALL lives are protected by required police/security body-cams and better employment screening, supervision of policing personnel is firmly instituted, we NEED to keep the many human rights violations still being committed too often in the name of “law enforcement” front and center in public view!

  2. In October, 2015, Black Lives Matter interrupted traffic on I-93, putting lives in danger as they protested God knows what! They, the protesters, were out just to have fun and to protest. Many of the protesters were NOT black, and they are definitely NOT poor; they wanted to protest ANYTHING, pure and simple.

    Now we have a Reverend putting up a sign at a church saying Black Lives Matter? The sign should not have been stolen, but the Reverend is using the stealing of the sign to push his agenda….. Whatever that is. Give us all a break, and let it go. We don’t need a “conversation” about this topic, and don’t need to have this issue re-hashed! ALL LIVES MATTER…… and the Reverend should give it a rest.

  3. Oh please gag me. Blaming Fox News and Bill O’Reilly ? This is the group that protested in calling for the violence against the police. And what happened then ??? There was violence against police. These are the people who STILL hold to the MYTH of “hands up don’t shoot” , that The kids hands were up when they were never up while he assaulted the cop who was in his cruiser. These are the people who embrace Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton, the race baiters who extort money using race and violence. With all due respect Rev., YOU need to distance yourself from these people. Blacks are killing blacks. Look at the statistics in the inner cities. Where is the outrage when every weekend kids are killing each other in the inner cities ? ALL LIVES MATTER. PERIOD !

    • Somehow I knew your hateful racism would rear its ugly head. Keep commenting, you shine the light on all that is wrong with America, and you encourage rational people to oppose anything you stand for.