Black Lives Matter signs go missing in Peterborough

  • A Black Lives Matter sign at a Peterborough residence earlier this summer. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/26/2020 4:16:51 PM

“Black Lives Matter” signs disappeared from residences all around Peterborough Tuesday night. 

State Representative Ivy Vann said she was “deeply disappointed” to awake Wednesday morning and find she was one of at least six households whose signs had gone missing, in what appears to be a targeted sweep from Summer Street to High Street to Union Street.  

“I’m disappointed because I hate to feel that this is a place where a sign that supports other people would be taken,” Vann said. “I think it’s a shame that someone felt like that sign was an attack and therefore should be taken away –  or whatever they thought.”

Vann said she had two Black Lives Matter signs in a “thicket” of political signs supporting candidates in the upcoming primary; the political signs were left alone while it appeared that the BLM signs were removed and thrown in a nearby swamp. Vann said that she has had political signs go missing in previous election years, but a sign in support of Black lives is hardly political.

“It’s like if you took down a sign down that said ‘Support our local schools,’” Vann said. “What is that sign doing to you? More rights for someone else does not mean fewer rights for you – it’s not pie!”

Peterborough resident Zach Green also woke up to find his Black Lives Matter sign had been taken, while several political signs remained on his lawn. He called it “an act of hate.”

“If members of this community purport that my rights matter, that the rights of Black people matter, then they ought to understand that this is an act of hate, an act of stepping on others rights,” Green said. “There is no difference between Black Lives Matter the organization and believing that Black lives matter, as I see it.”

Acts of hate took place around the country last night, the third night of unrest following the police shooting of unarmed Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Two protesters were fatally shot in Kenosha last night, and in Pennsylvania, a subject opened fire at a group marching from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Washington, D.C. in support of Black lives. 

For Peterborough families, Wednesday morning’s news forced them into yet another difficult discussion in this summer of racial unrest. Esther Rhoades of Peterborough said her seven-year-old daughter was “devastated” at the news that their homemade, handpainted black-and-white wooden sign had been stolen.

“She cared about her work,” Rhoades said. “She was proud of it. It is difficult to have to explain to her why her sign was taken off of our property.” Rhoades said she used the sign theft as a teachable moment for her children.

“We talked about the importance of the [Black Lives Matter] movement,” Rhoades said. “And we talked about the injustices that black people face every day. We have to actively be anti-racist – we can’t just not be racist. “I am a proud American, and love our country, which means that we also need to do some work.”

Peterborough Police Chief Scott Guinard did not return a request for comment by press time Wednesday.


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