Rev. Scott Alexander, interim minister of UUCR, sent an email dated Aug. 5 to members and friends saying, "We discovered yesterday that the banner was vandalized in a truly disturbing manner." A photo depicts the banner slashed or torn at the top. According to Alexander, the event followed the theft and destruction of their 16-foot Rainbow Flag and flagpole in the spring of 2022.
Reston Connection reported several occurrences, including the Black Lives Matter Banner Stolen, Theft reported Juneteenth 2020.
"There is so much work to do in our community and nation to undo the scourge of institutional and personal racism," Alexander said. "We will not be intimidated, and we will not be defeated in our fight for social and racial justice... We will not be bullied into submission," he added.
UUCR's Social Action and Justice Committee is committed to replacing the flag and banner, and the congregation hopes to reinstall the new Rainbow Flag and Black Lives Matter banner within the next week, according to Alexander. "This congregation has a clear and firm commitment to racial equality and anti-racism work," Alexander said.
Reaction poured in from the congregation, including that of Holly Anderson, board president of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston. According to Anderson, she is in contact with other UUC presidents nationwide through a listserv. “They are having the same theft and destruction of banners and flags at their churches across the country. We are all praying this stops," Anderson said.