About 100 Brunswick residents marched on Hemlock Road Friday to speak out after a Black Lives Matter sign with the motto crossed out was spotted in the neighborhood.

According to neighborhood resident and walk organizer Jason Gould, the sign that was posted outside the property of a resident was modified with a red circle and slash over the motto. Friday morning, the sign was in a recycling bin on the side of the street. By the time of the walk, the sign had been completely removed. Attempts to contact the owner of the sign were unsuccessful.

“For the sake of the entire neighborhood, we’ve organized this walk to come out in solidarity and to show support for one another and the fact that we celebrate the diversity in this neighborhood,” said Gould, stating that the sign “essentially says ‘Black lives don’t matter.’”

It’s unclear whether the sign was made that way or if was a standard Black Lives Matter flag that someone modified.

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 and with the goal of combating white supremacy, police brutality and other acts of violence and racism against Black people. The movement gained worldwide traction last summer as protests expanded due to former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd.

According to Brunswick’s Chief of Police Scott Stewart, a resident alerted police to the incident. Stewart said that the sign is protected under free speech and no legal action was taken.


The walk was planned less than 12 hours prior and started at 6 p.m. It was also attended by two Brunswick police officers at the request of Stewart.

Gould said to the crowd that the intent of the walk was “to be a joyous celebration of diversity and community,” not a protest or a demonstration.

Town Councilor Dan Ankeles and School Board Member Teresa Gillis both attended the walk.

Gillis said she participated because she believes it is important to not let anything negative or hateful grow in the community.

“You want to come forward and stand up to it right away, so it doesn’t grow in the darkness,” Gillis said. “Put everything in the light and it’s going to diminish.”

Ankeles said he attended to show support for the neighborhood and his friend, Gould.


“It’s been a great neighborhood to live in, very friendly, we actually have a little bit of some diversity here,” said neighborhood resident Kiran Mangalam. “No room for hate here.”

Other residents that were interviewed agreed.

“We believe that the neighborhood and community here are very inclusive and supportive and when we see something doesn’t support that then we want to have a peaceful response to that,” said resident Steve Salhany.

Resident Abby Brown said she decided to show up because she was appalled by the sign and believes there is no room for it in her neighborhood.

“We love our community and that sign expressed views that are contrary to what we feel is what makes this a wonderful place to be,” said resident John Hodapp.

Friday’s walk comes almost exactly a year after the first Black Lives Matter protests in Brunswick last summer.

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