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Proud Boys members march in support of President Trump in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Police are investigating as possible hate crimes the tearing down and burning of a Black Lives Matter banner and sign from two historic Black churches during unrest at pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.

Why it matters: Saturday's vandalism at the Asbury United Methodist Church and the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church are "acts of both racial terror and religious violence," per a statement from Yolanda Pierce, dean of D.C.'s Howard University School of Divinity.

  • Ianther Mills, a senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, founded in 1836, said in a statement acts were "reminiscent of cross burnings," noting "we face an apparent rise in white supremacy."

Context: Historically, Black churches have been targeted by white supremacists in acts of violence in the U.S.

Driving the news: Violent clashes erupted in D.C. Saturday between supporters of President Trump who refuse to accept his election loss to President-elect Biden and counter-protesters.

  • The men, some dressed in "MAGA" hats, who were captured on video burning the banner at the Asbury United Methodist Church, were later identified as members of the far-right group the Proud Boys, according to the Washington Post.
  • Another video shows protesters tearing down the sign at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and stomping on it while shouting: "Whose streets? Our streets."

What they're saying: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said in a statement Sunday that the Office of Religious Affairs and the Metropolitan Police Department are "engaging the impacted houses of worship."

"DC's faith-based organizations are at the very heart of our community, giving us hope in the face of darkness. They embody our DC values of love and inclusivity. An attack on them is an attack on all of us. This weekend, we saw forces of hate seeking to use destruction and intimidation to tear us apart. We will not let that happen."
— Bowser

Go deeper

Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol secured hours after mob breach

A protester sits in the Senate chamber on Jan. 6. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The U.S. Capitol was secured hours after a mob supporting President Trump violently breached the building, causing a lockdown and evacuation of lawmakers, staff and reporters.

Where it stands: The Senate and House have reconvened to finish certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.