Last week, the Unitarian Universalist Church hung a banner proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” on its property facing Alluvial Avenue. Sometime between this past Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, that sign was vandalized. Someone used green paint to scrawl “All” over where it said “Black.”
This incident is a test of a document Fresno Mayor Lee Brand signed, vowing to call out racism and acts of hate.
Rev. Tim Kutzmark keeps a good sense of humor about the vandalism.
“My reaction is mixed. I am disappointed, but we expected at some point there would be some kind of vandalism. What is ironic about this is they’ve written the word ‘all’ and I know what they are trying to say is ‘All Lives Matter’ which means they’ve really missed the point of ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ” Kutzmark said. ” But you can also read it as ‘All Black Lives Matter.’ So, we kind of agree with that.”
Kutzmark says the group has filed a police report.
Now, about that document.
In response to the violence earlier this month at a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, the Anti-Defamation League and U.S. Conference of Mayors partnered to create a 10-plank Compact to Combat Hate. Brand was quick to sign on, joining 200-plus mayors.
Specially, the Compact says:
“Mayors will use the bully pulpit to speak out against racism, extremism, xenophobia, white supremacy and all forms of bigotry, and those who espouse such ideologies, and promote community conversations around these issues as needed.”
And, “Mayors will publicly denounce specific acts of hate and support efforts to punish bias-motivated violence to the fullest extent of the law, and provide comfort and assistance to victims of hate crimes and discrimination.”
We asked Mayor Brand’s office if he had a comment regarding the vandalism at UU in relation to the Compact. His spokesman Mark Standriff told us, “The mayor’s signature speaks for itself.”
“Well, it’s very easy to sign a document. It’s a lot harder to make that document to come alive. I would love for the mayor to be able stand with us, stand with people of color and say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ and people of color’s lives matter. All lives will matter only when black lives matter and people of color’s lives matter.”