DeKALB – A local church hopes to spark a civil rights discussion when it unveils a Black Lives Matter banner on its facade Sunday.
After its regular 10 a.m. service, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, 158 N. Fourth St., will display the banner at 12:30 p.m., part of a short ceremony. The public is encouraged to attend and take part in discussions.
Intern minister Allen Hardin has spearheaded the event, and said the goal is to learn more about where the community stands on race issues, and have a civil discourse.
“If there are divisions in the community, we want to know how deep they run, rather than it being the unspoken elephant in the room,” Hardin said. “We’re really just testing the water. People here don’t want it to sit on the back burner because people don’t want to talk about it.”
The Unitarian Universalist Association is conducting various activities nationwide in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which Hardin said is often misperceived as an anti-law enforcement movement.
“That’s not why it’s going up here,” he said. “There’s no specific reason we’re doing it today, no reason to respond to anything that’s happened. We’re quite proud of things both local police departments are doing.”
The banner has been up inside the church for a while, Hardin said, and likely will be displayed on the facade for two weeks – as long as the church’s special permit allows them to display it there.
“We’d like it to be something permanent,” he said.
Hardin has worked at the church as an intern half-time for the past couple of years, and he and David Becker both serve on the church’s Social Justice Committee.
“Our principles lead us to witness and work toward greater fairness and full democratic participation for everyone,” Becker wrote in a news release.
Hardin knows the subject could potentially draw vitriol.
“We expect some people won’t like it,” he said.
Nonetheless, he said no additional security precautions will be taken Sunday.