On the morning of Mar. 26, a noose was found in a tree outside St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (301 A Street SE).
St. Mark’s Reverend Michele Morgan spoke about her initial reaction to seeing this symbol of hate on the church grounds early Friday.
“I was shocked by it,” Morgan recalled, still audibly shaken. “This lovely old little red church with this courtyard is usually either filled with little kids playing or people having lunch, and instead there was this green noose hanging from the tallest tree.”
The Reverend said that the incident has and will have a different impact on all members of the church and the community.
“It’s a long standing symbol of racial terror,” Morgan said. “What struck me as I was standing there was that the majority of police officers who showed up to take down a report were African American. I think that they had a very different reaction to it than I did. The first patrol officer, I spoke to his mother, is a Lutheran pastor, and he was like “I can’t believe people would do this at a church, of all places.”
Ward 6 DC Council member Charles Allen (D) tweeted about the incident condemning the act of hate in the community.
“A noose was found today at St Mark’s Episcopal Church on the Hill,” Allen wrote. “A despciable symbol and act of hate. MPD has been on scene and is working with church leadership. Denounce it out loud and clear –hate has no home here.”
A noose was found today at St Marks Episcopal Church on the Hill. A despicable symbol & act of hate. MPD has been on scene & is working with church leadership. Denounce it loud & clear – hate has no home here. pic.twitter.com/ClJDwHZnWm
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) March 26, 2021
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) responded to the scene and said they are still investigating the incident.
“These types of offenses are taken seriously and are entirely unacceptable,” MPD Public Information Officer Hugh Carew told HillRag in an email. “We are currently investigating this as a possible hate crime.
The MPD is asking anyone with information to call 202-727-9099 or text information anonymously to 50411.
Morgan said as the police were wrapping up the investigation she went with the bishop to pray on the matter of the tree and of the garden where the noose was found, usually a place of joy of peace.
“This is a garden that is usually filled with the laughter of children,” Morgan said. “And as as the children fill up this garden as the day progresses, let their laughter redeem this place because that’s that’s what God does. God redeems.”
This story is updating.
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at [email protected]