Newington Green church slams ‘racist’ graffiti on Black Lives Matter banner

PUBLISHED: 14:00 12 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:39 12 May 2017

James Morris

The Black Lives Matter banner was defaced outside Newington Green Unitarian Church. Picture: Andy Pakula

A radical church in Newington Green has denounced “racist” graffiti on its Black Lives Matter banner – after the offender crossed out “black” and replaced it with “all”.

Newington Green Unitarian Church. Picture: nicksarebi/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

The non-religious Newington Green Unitarian Church, known for preaching progressive politics since it was formed in 1708, today pinned a new banner at the front of the building after the previous one was defaced last week.

Black Lives Matter formed in the US in 2012, in response to African-American Trayvon Martin’s white killer George Zimmerman being acquitted for his shooting. The movement spread internationally as campaigners sought to highlight inequality.

The defaced Black Lives Matter banner was originally pinned up six months ago. And Rev Andy Pakula explained why the “All Lives Matter” graffiti was an “act of racism”.

“Core to New Unity’s ethos is the conviction that all lives do matter,” he said. “But our point, and the point of the Black Lives Matter movement, is that our society and systems do not act as though black lives matter as much as white lives.

“We show this banner in solidarity with this very necessary movement, and because the black lives in our congregation, our community and the wider world, need to be fought for.”

Rev Pakula pointed to New Unity’s stats that 38 per cent of young black men are unemployed in the UK, compared to 18pc of young white men, and that black people are four times more likely to be stopped and searched by police.

Rev Pakula added: “In this country, we are generally reluctant to talk about these issues, and that’s why the banner is on the front of our building. And if someone defaces it again, we will just put a new banner up.”