This past Saturday, St. Philips Episcopal Church in Annapolis hosted a community workshop to talk about race issues and celebrate the “Black Lives Matter” movement. On Sunday, the predominately black church had a ceremony for more than 300 people as it hoisted its new sign in front of the church proclaiming “black lives matter” — the rallying cry behind the nationwide movement to fight police brutality and systemic discrimination against black people.
About 7:30 a.m. Monday, according to Anne Arundel county police, a woman took down the sign because she disagreed with the motto. Chari Raye McLean, 56, of Annapolis was charged with destruction of property on a criminal citation.
Police say the woman indicated that she vandalized the sign because she instead supported the mantras “All Lives Matter,” or “Blue Lives Matter,” a counter-motto to the Black Lives Matter movement advocating on behalf of police officers’ lives.
The Rev. Randy Callender said this is the second sign to be vandalized at the church. On Oct. 16, another “Black Lives Matter” sign — which a nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation gave the Episcopalian church — was vandalized. The vandal changed Black Lives Matter to say “All Lives Matter” and wrote on it to say the message was dividing Annapolis.
“The first time it was vandalized, I’ll be honest, I was surprised. I was really surprised. … We were not saying that all lives didn’t matter. We were saying that in order for all lives to matter, you have to focus on what’s going on in the black community,” Callender said. “If [McLean] really disagreed with the sign, I would have invited her to my office to talk.”
Callender said St. Philips Episcopal Church plans to put up a third sign.
Bethesda’s River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation had three “Black Lives Matter” signs vandalized in July.