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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Church Rededicates New ‘Black Lives Matter’ Banner

By James Lomuscio

The ceremony at the Unitarian Church today was short but firm in its resolve that Westport remain a community of tolerance and acceptance, to hear church and local officials tell it.

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The Rev. John Morehouse addresses today’s ceremony. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Following the Sunday service, the Rev. John Morehouse surrounded by congregants in the church’s atrium rededicated a new Black Live Matter banner to replace the one installed roadside last October but ripped down Aug. 23, torn in half and left on the side of the road. (See WestportNow Aug. 25, 2017)

“The outpouring of support for this has been absolutely incredible,” said Morehouse, adding that the church received so many donations for a new banner, he had “enough for another if this one comes down.”

“When we say black lives matter, we’re not saying black lives matter more than others; we’re not saying they matter more than blue lives,” Morehouse added. “We’re not saying it’s against something else, but for those who feel marginalized. It’s with that spirit that we will rededicate this banner.”

Present at the event were First Selectman Jim Marpe, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, the Rev. Cass Shaw, executive director of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, and Catherine Onyemelukwe of TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) Westport.

“It’s important for us to rededicate ourselves to understanding and to not be bothered by the forces of intolerance and hate,” said Morehouse.

He said the banner placed in front of the church property was initially his idea approved by congregants.

Marpe said that he and Koskinas “were delighted to be part of the original dedication.”

“And we were extremely angry when we learned the banner was vandalized, but we are pleased and honored to be part of the rededication and the commitment of the Unitarian Church,” Marpe said.

Koskinas said the banner’s presence is an example of how accepting Westport is.

“I think the fact that the banner stayed up for a year is an example of how accepting this community is and how accepting are our neighbors who travel through it,” Koskinas said.

Koskinas added that through his conversations with Morehouse, he learned that the church wants to stress that “all lives matter, and this is a starting point.”

Morehouse said that when he saw the banner had been ripped down he felt sad knowing, “We have more work to do.”

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Posted 09/17/17 at 02:01 PM  Permalink



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