Thieves steal nearly 40-foot Black Lives Matter banner from Slavic Village non-profit

Third time banner or signage has been taken from their property

Thieves steal nearly 40-foot Black Lives Matter banner from Slavic Village non-profit

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - To some, Black Lives Matter represents a single entity.

But that phrase represents much more.

It’s a message of struggle and life.

University Settlement, a non-profit in Slavic Village, had its Black Lives Matter banner taken from its building.

It’s third the attempt to display the phrase after two other signs were stolen.

Executive Director Earl Pike said, “They were very specific and intentional about what they did. That big sign stood up there all summer. And we were very proud of it.”

The building has a surveillance camera, and on Thursday night, it caught two men, who went above and beyond to take down the banner, pulling and tugging in several circumstances.

Later in the video, one of the men hoisted the other by hand for a higher reach; that end result was the man taking a hard fall to the ground.

But after multiple attempts, the thieves were successful in taking the banner.

Staff who watched the video were disappointed.

“Seeing how this affects my co-workers and my family at home...it’s a very frustrating experience,” said Grace Wright.

Another staff member said, “It’s bringing us together, the black community, because of all of this. But even now, it seems like more and more people are showing their racism.”

But to the staff at University Settlement, this is more about someone stealing a banner.

They’re hoping it gives rise to an important conversation that’s needed in our community.

Pike said, “Don’t slash signs, reach out to us and let’s talk about it. Let’s figure out how to move past these kind of petty displays.”

Pike went on to say that he’s giving the two men, whose faces are visible on camera, 48 hours to come forward, or the video will be released to the public and taken to police.

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