“We want to be part of the solution:” Milwaukee church hangs “Black Lives Matter” sign on building

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's an effort to stimulate systemic change. Leaders of a church in Milwaukee have joined the fight against racial and social injustices. The religious community is not made up of minorities, but in support, church leaders feel as though they need to be another voice of outrage.

A banner with the words "Black Lives Matter" hangs outside the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee on North Astor Street.

"I want those intimately engaged in the struggle to see our support," Mary Devitt, a member of the church said.

The phrase on the outside of the building speaks to the values of those on the inside.

"We want all people to thrive," First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee Senior Interim Minister Elaine Beth Peresluha said.

"One of the reasons I belong to this church is our principles form that kind of work in the community. They call us to fight for justice and equality and respect for every human life," Devitt said.

Devitt helped to lead the effort to get the banner in place. She is heavily involved in the demonstrations supporting the family of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton, shot and killed by former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney in April 2014 in Red Arrow Park. She says this effort at her church extends her quest for justice.

"We need to change the way we respect black lives in our society as a whole. They need better education, jobs -- to be in a situation where they are not so vulnerable. This taking of black lives without consequence needs to stop," Devitt said.

Devitt's efforts are backed by the Peresluha, the church's senior interim minister.

"There`s a huge discrepancy now between the resources available to the dominant white culture and  African-American culture and we don`t want that we want that to change. We want everyone to have access to all the best that our country has to offer," Peresluha said.

With Milwaukee being one of the most segregated cities in the country, church members say the change must come from engagement and that starts with the "Black Lives Matter" sign on the church and subsequent dialogue and action.

"We are very concerned here and we want to be part of the solution. We want to have that conversation and feel that community engagement," Mark Gill, a member of the church said.

This sign isn't the only way church leaders are making an effort to stand in solidarity with the African-American community. Peresluha has a blog dedicated to the "Black Lives Matter" movement.


  • Sick of it all

    All lives matter!! What confuses me is why are these people so freely open to kill one-another with guns and you never hear any outcry yet let it be an officer doing their job protecting us and then all hell breaks loose…Sad

    • richard cranium

      notice how the ‘black lives matter’ crowd can never give a valid response to the argument that black-on-black violence is infinitely worse? they just start up with the ‘racist!’ name calling right away.

      • R

        “We are very concerned here and we want to be part of the solution. We want to have that conversation and feel that community engagement,”

        I hardly consider Ogden and Astor part of the “black” community. It would occur to me if the heart of the very community they’re attempting to support showed up at their lily white church community, they would change the rules to keep them out. “Black lives matter.” Hah. Only a left side liberal could think of such a harmless, do-nothing phrase like that, or an action like hanging a banner in an area where there are few to none black people to see it. THEY LIVE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FREEWAY, CHUCK. WITH THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY YOU CAN AFFORD TO KEEP OUT OF YOUR COMMUNITY.

        The sign might as well state, “Can’t someone else do it?”

  • Semper Fidelis, USMC

    White lives matter also, so make a sign that says, blacks stop stealing, killing, knock out games, learn to shoot a weapon, steal cars, rob anyone white, welfare, free gas , free electric, etc etc, stupid sign. Why is this a story, racist and sad.

  • Cheri

    This church is not being part of the solution, it’s part of the PROBLEM. They are promoting racism with this sign because they only think that “Black lives matter” apparently. What about ALL lives, races and skin colors? Talk about a church pushing a political anti-white agenda.

  • GemGirl

    White commenters here who point to crime by blacks, please look in the mirror and recognize the lengthy history of white violence against people of color in this nation as well as white-on-white violence. Your ignorance is not pretty. You reveal yourself by all the negative words you use to describe black people. You lack understanding of the broader issues in proper context and your hostility is misdirected, so please fix you own lives,

    • gVyrus

      Lol slavery has been gone for along time. I might add that WHITE PEOPLE fought for that as well. Yes there is white on white/White on black crimes that occur. But you should take a look at the numbers in which black on black crime is happening around the U.S. You would find that more people would agree that Black Lives Matter but maybe tell the black community. I dnt think they got the menu yet.

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