/  05.31.2022

On Friday (May 27), Rev. Tracy Wolff of Springfield, Missouri held a press conference with the NAACP to discuss what she believes to be a racially motivated hate crime against her congregation.

Members of the Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church revealed that a black swastika was painted on the exterior of their historically Black church. The incident is thought to have happened on May 18 or 19. Authorities are looking into the vandalism as a hate crime.

In Friday’s press conference, Wolff said, “I want to be clear that this is not simply tagging. This is not graffiti. This is not vandalism.” She continued, “This was a hate crime, and it is unacceptable.”

Enslaved Africans founded Pitts Chapel in 1847, making it the oldest historically Black church in the southwestern Missouri city. Since the disturbing incident, a crew from the county parks has removed the symbol of hate.

“Though we are historically Black, on Sunday mornings at 11 a.m., we’re becoming one of the most diverse places in town. I don’t think a lot of people know that,” Wolff added while speaking of her church family.

Missouri’s Council on American-Islamic Relations was also sure to denounce the incident. The reverend plans to improve security procedures at the place of worship in light of recent hate crimes such as the tragic Buffalo, New York massacre earlier this month.

As previously reported by REVOLT, in the May 14 shooting in New York, a white gunman walked into a grocery store located in a predominantly Black neighborhood and opened fire with an assault rifle. The suspect allegedly traveled over 200 miles to carry out the attack. All 10 of the victims that were fatally shot were Black and authorities considered the massacre to be racially motivated.

For now, law enforcement officers in Springfield have not named any suspects. Anyone with information on this heinous crime is asked to come forward.

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