Missing BLM banner reported as vandalism to APD

Alaska Black Caucus President says she’s more focused on the demonstration
The "Black" in "Black Lives Matter" went missing overnight before the Alaska Black Caucus's March on Alaska.
The "Black" in "Black Lives Matter" went missing overnight before the Alaska Black Caucus's March on Alaska.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 10:43 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Black Lives Matter. That’s what a series of banners from the Alaska Black Caucus posted outside the Performing Arts Center read until Monday morning, when the “Black” banner went missing, just before their March on Alaska.

“To find out that someone had taken that sign down, you know, just right before the program was frustrating, disappointing,” said Celeste Hodge Growden, President and CEO of the ABC.

Hours after the event, steel cables were still hanging from the wall, cables that city officials now believe were cut instead of damaged by the intense winds Sunday night.

“According to the staff who work at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, who hang up and take down these banners all the time, it is their belief that the steel cables were indeed, cut,” said Chris Schutte, Director of Economic and Community Development for the Municipality of Anchorage.

Schutte’s office oversees the Performing Arts Center, which is run by the nonprofit Alaska Center for Performing Arts. The banners were paid for by the Caucus, hung by ACPA staff, and approved by the Municipality.

“We absolutely feel comfortable with that statement for the Community,” Schutte said.

The missing sign has now been reported as a vandalism to Anchorage Police, but with no security cameras pointed directly at the banners, Schutte said any investigation is going to be tough.

“I don’t give it a very high likelihood of being very determinative, but they are going through the steps of reviewing that and providing that for APD,” he said.

For Growden, the missing sign, while frustrating, mattered less to her than the march itself.

“For me to see all of those people out there, you know, wanting to join in unity and solidarity fighting systemic racism, that sign completely went out of my mind,” she said.

But she added that she thinks it’s a sign that their goal of eliminating systemic racism has not yet been met.

“This is not the end; there’s still work to do,” she said. “And so together we will get there.”

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