In early October 2016 a banner in rural Atkinson, NC read, “We must kill the white trash who hire illegal aliens,” purporting to cite the Bible as support.
Uniting NC strives to make North Carolina feel like home for everyone, including immigrants and refugees. This is why we created a billboard, shown above, that is located 10 miles away from the small town.
Jennie Belle with the North Carolina Council of Churches was particularly concerned with the Atkinson sign’s use of scripture to support an apparent call to violence. “As members of the faith community, we are called to love our neighbor — all of our neighbors.”
Belle believed this message was particularly needed now. “In these difficult times when hateful rhetoric is being used daily by people on both sides of conflicting issues, we must come together to build a country that models inclusion and understanding — not just on issues of immigration, but on race relations in our country overall. We must remember that our faith calls us to love our neighbor, welcome the stranger, and stand in solidarity with the vulnerable.”
The new billboard is located on U.S. 117 E in Burgaw, just west of U.S. interstate 40.