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Williamsburg church continuing racial justice work, showing support for Black Lives Matter movement

The seven signs sit on Ironbound Road. They honor Black people who have died as a result of police brutality and racism.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A Williamsburg church is continuing its fight for racial justice.

Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists placed several signs near on its property that display several names you may have heard of, such as Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Malcolm X just to name a few.

The “Say Their Names” sign project honors Black lives lost to police brutality or racists' actions. Reverend Laura Horton-Ludwig is from Minneapolis, Minnesota, so George Floyd's death hit home.

Last month, she held a special Black Lives Matter worship service to recommit the church and community to the work of racial justice, but the church has worked with members of the community on many racial justice issues.

“I think all of us felt a sense of urgency,” Horton-Ludwig said. “It just feels like something is happening and we need to be vocal in our support of what's happening.”

She added, “There are people of faith in our community who believe in racial justice, equality, and being a person of faith is totally compatible with being committed to racial justice.”

There are a total of seven signs and eight names. The signs went up following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. “WUU Believes” and “Black Lives Matter” are also displayed on the signs.

Jessica Sapalio is one of the social justice co-chairs at the church. She said members plan to change out the names periodically to honor Black people who have died throughout history.

“Really it came from the long history of oppression of Black people and people of color in our community,” Sapalio said. “We feel like racial profiling, police brutality, the mass incarceration of Black people is outrageous, and our society needs to do better.”

Horton-Ludwig believes part of showing up is doing this kind of witness.

“We do believe Black lives matter, we do believe racial justice needs to happen now,” Horton-Ludwig said.

You can learn more about WUU’s Social Justice initiatives on their website.

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