(Photo courtesy of Rev. Louise Green)

Someone ripped out the word “black” from a “black lives matter” sign outside a Bethesda church Tuesday — the second such incident at that church in the past two weeks.

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation initially displayed the sign in early July. The congregation had no problems with it until July 29, when someone cut out the word “black” from it overnight.

The church replaced that sign on Thursday, and on Tuesday, according to the church, someone defaced the second sign between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., so it again simply read “lives matter.”

[‘Black lives matter’ becomes ‘lives matter’ after sign ripped outside Bethesda church.] 


The original sign in Bethesda that was defaced. (Courtesy of Rev. Nancy Ladd)

“We intend to replace it,” the Rev. Louise Green said. “We have another banner in house that will go up again and we don’t intend to back down.”

The phrase “all lives matter” is viewed by some as a tone-deaf and racist response to “black lives matter” — the rallying cry behind the nationwide movement. Saying all lives matter,” these activists and supporters say, undermines the movement, suggesting the need to specifically highlight police brutality and systematic discrimination against black people is unnecessary.

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, which is about 80 percent white and has a racial justice task force, collectively decided to post the sign earlier this month.

There are no security cameras monitoring that area. The incidents have been reported to Montgomery County Police. Police didn’t immediately have other details available Tuesday about the incident.