SILVER SPRING, MD (WUSA9) - In Silver Spring, a community is on edge after a "Black Lives Matter" sign was vandalized on Election Night.
This is the fourth time that the banner, located outside of the Christ Congregational Church, has been vandalized in two years. The word "black" was cut off, leaving just "lives matter."
"I think it's just sadness..." said neighbor Mary Anderson, who lives in the community. "I drive by this church every morning, and when I drove by yesterday, and saw this, my heart just sank."
Rev. Matthew Braddock is the minister for the church, and said that this is indicative of a bigger problem in the area.
"There's been an under-current of these feelings in some people in Silver Spring for a long time," he said. "And it's finally coming out more publicly."
On Friday morning, dozens of neighbors gathered in front of the church for a protest against the incidents. Community advocate Jeffrey Thames planned the event, and said it was focused on building a "safe place" at the church, where people could report incidents of racial intolerance.
"We want to nip this in the bud," he said. "Letting the people in and around Silver Spring know that this type of behavior, and this type of speech and actions will not be tolerated in Silver Springs."
At this point, it's not clear if the actions were politically motivated, but many at the protest said that the harsh rhetoric of the Trump campaign may have motivated the action.
"Because it happened on Election Night," said Mary Anderson. "I think this kind of thing has been under the surface for a long time, but I do think his campaign and the way he campaigned has given permission for a lot of people to be out and in the open about their hatred."