Black Lives Matter Protestor Hospitality

Black Lives Matter protestors march by New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where they can find access to restrooms, water and respite. Photo: Aryn Myers

The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church has recently used its building’s unique location, two blocks from the White House, to support the current protests for Black Lives Matter. Embodying NYAPC’s value of radical hospitality, volunteers ensure protestors have access to restrooms, water and a safe place to recharge.

NYAPC has found itself on the frontlines for justice and social change throughout history. The congregation and its leaders actively participated in civil rights marches, anti-war protests, and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, sometimes known as “Lincoln’s Church” because President Abraham Lincoln worshipped there, also houses an early draft of the Emancipation Declaration written by President Lincoln.

John Wiley, Eleanor K. Robins, and Vincent de Forest stand outside the Poor People’s Campaign Information Center at NYAPC in the spring of 1968.

Protestor hospitality is a continuation of this work. The church opened its doors for the Women’s March, the March for Our Lives, and now for the current Black Lives Matter protests, providing access to restrooms, water, cell phone charging and cooling stations. In a unique time during the pandemic, these services are in even greater demand with many other businesses and buildings closed. Click here to join our volunteer email list and help open our doors during city protests and marches.

The church also displayed protest art on its building in a series of installations in celebration of Juneteenth. The congregation and friends submitted protest signs to be hung along New York Avenue, a main thoroughfare of the protests. NYAPC also partnered with a local artist and light designer John D. Alexander that evening to display Enlight of Solidarity: Juneteenth “Power to the People” (pictured below) expressing commitment to social justice for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ communities. Find out more about the art installations here.

Protestors pass the Juneteenth protest art installation at NYAPC. Photo Eric Bond.
Juneteenth Light Installation Enlight of Solidarity: Juneteenth “Power to the People”. Photo: Eric Bond.

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