"We are not afraid.”
Together a Southeast community sang the battle cry of the Civil Rights Movement at a ‘Rally Against Hate’ organized for Sunday evening.
The rally started with a march from the East Washington Heights Baptist Church on Branch Avenue. Community members walked to the area near Anne Beers Elementary School. A construction site just across the street from the school is where D.C. police found a noose hanging Thursday.
Sunday, a parent told WUSA9 this has forced her to explain it to her kids.
“They don't really understand the concept of what is a noose,” said Adrienne Banks of her two younger daughters.
The sad thing is, they're not even from here.
The California family tells us they toured the African American Museum of History and Culture one day after police discovered a noose inside. So the family decided to join a relative at the Sunday rally.
"This is so important,” said Banks, “it was so important for us to bring our daughters here to see like he said that unfortunately things like this, putting a noose up, still happens in 2017."
For the members of this community, this is the third noose found in a week. There have been at least five noose incidents in the district this year. However, unlike other locations the southeast neighborhood isn't an area that draws a lot of outsiders.
Jenifer Sparks told WUSA9 she’s the mother of a blended family. “It's just hard for me to imagine that someone would do that in the middle of D.C., especially this part of D.C. It's just really brazen,” Sparks said.
Jacqueline Dozier teaches one of Sparks’ daughters. “I think that's the scary part of it, is not knowing where it comes from,” Dozier told WUSA9.
A U.S.Park Police spokesperson said Sunday, they are still investigating incidents on the National Mall. D.C. Police Chief Newsham attended the Sunday rally.
"I’ve talked to the Chief of the Park Police, that they are combing through other video and as soon as they have something that’s worthwhile they can share with the public, they intend to do that,” said Chief Newsham.
In the meantime, southeast is letting everyone else know:
"We're going to let love shine. We're going to take back our community,” said an East Washington Heights Baptist Church Pastor at the rally.
Church leaders announced a 7 p.m. Town Hall meeting for Tuesday at the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ.
Organizers said they hope to create rapid response teams that’ll be able to help communities respond to any act of racism and hate reported in the district from here on out.