When the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Galloway constructed a sign at the roadside edge of its property saying “Black Lives Matter” last month, there was a minor backlash.
But on Wednesday morning, parishioners discovered that the sign had been spray-painted over to read “All Lives Matter.”
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” is part of a national movement to change how police interact with minorities that grew out of a series of high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police officers. “All Lives Matter” is a common refrain among opponents.
“Whatever they do to our sign, they can’t change our hearts, and they can’t change our intentions, which are to work for black lives and justice,” said the Rev. Cynthia Cain.
Cain, who is white, said even if some people in the mostly white town of Galloway in Atlantic County disagree with the sign’s message, the church has a right to speak its mind.
“I imagine the students, especially the students of color,” she said of enrollees returning to Stockton University this week for the first day of class, “seeing that sign and seeing scrawled across the word black, this white paint … as if, ‘no, they don’t.'”
Cain said the congregation wouldn’t let the vandalism deter it from continuing to work against racism.