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In Mount Pleasant, at least two signs reading “Black Lives Matter” have been vandalized, with the word “black” painted over.
The signs are located on the 1800 block of Lamont Street NW and the 3100 block of 19th Street NW, just a few hundred feet from one another. Robin Kane, the owner of the home on 19th Street NW, said she didn’t know her sign had been vandalized when City Desk visited her address this afternoon. Kane explained that the vandalism must have occurred last night or early this morning: She left her house today, but because she turned down the other direction of the 3100 block, she didn’t notice that the word “black” had been filled in. The sign has been up for about three weeks, she added.
“Of course all lives matter,” Kane said when asked about the vandalized sign on her front lawn. “But this [act] is part of the crisis of racism in our country. I can’t believe someone would make it a priority in their day to jump my fence and do this—to visibly erase black people.”
Kane, who is white, added that although she was angered by the vandalism, she was not surprised; she had even gotten more than one “Black Lives Matter” sign in case something happened to the first. She said she will talk to her neighbors and her sixth-grade daughter about the incident as well as notify Showing Up For Racial Justice, “a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice,” which distributes the signs.
Steve Hill, a resident of the house on Lamont Street NW, wrote in an email that he posted his sign several weeks ago, adding that he has no leads about the person or persons responsible. “I did not think putting up a yard sign supporting Black Lives Matter was a radical act, but the vandal reminded me of the huge gap between our aspirations for racial justice and our reality,” Hill wrote. “I painted ‘BLACK’ back on our sign, but we can’t bring back the Black people who have been killed.”
It’s possible that other signs in the neighborhood have been vandalized: Kane said SURJ regularly hands out the signs at the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market on weekends, while canvassing. SURJ-DC organizer Julia Clemons said via email that the group asks for donations for the signs, but payment is not required.
“I would encourage everyone to put out these signs,” Kane adds. “Racism is everywhere, even in Mount Pleasant.”
If you know of similar acts of vandalism, contact Andrew Giambrone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post has been updated to reflect that SURJ seeks donations, but does not require payment for the signs, and to add comments from the Lamont Street resident.
Top two photos by Will Mitchell; bottom photo by Darrow Montgomery