UNION CITY, Calif. — Leaders in a Northern California city on Saturday ordered the removal of a “White Lives Matter” banner that was posted on city property, declaring it “racist” and a “despicable act of vandalism.”
The banner was hung in Union City, a jurisdiction of about 75,000 residents, about 20 miles south of Oakland. It was hoisted between two poles at a busy city intersection. However, it was quickly removed after city officials became aware of it, with a complaint filed to police, KPIX-TV reported.
“The city is disgusted by this despicable act of vandalism that has occurred on the heels of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week,” a city statement read, according to FOX 2, “and on the weekend of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday that celebrates the life and achievements of this important civil rights leader.”
Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci and Human Resources Commission Chairman Kashmir Singh Shahi also denounced the banner in a video posted online.
“This is despicable and we removed it immediately,” the mayor says in the video, referring to the banner.
“This made me upset and I hope it’s an isolated incident as it does not reflect the community of my city, the city of Union City,” Shahi said.
“Disgusted by this despicable act of vandalism.”
This "White Lives Matter" banner in Union City is no longer on display at Smith & Dyer.
The mayor also says the city immediately took down the banner. Police now watching for hate-fueled crimes. https://t.co/jpxEv3h9hx pic.twitter.com/CcAWtyw69T
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) January 17, 2021
“This incident unfortunately shows how divisiveness at the national level can permeate even our community,” the city statement added, according to FOX 2.
Activist groups including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have labeled “White Lives Matter” as a white supremacist slogan adopted in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the East Bay Times reported.