Church leads show of community unity after noose found hanging in Hillcrest neighborhood

WASHINGTON DC -- There were no bibles or crosses in plain sight for Sunday night's gathering of the East Washington Heights Baptist congregation.

There was no need for either when the focus of the service was on a recent hate crime in the neighborhood.

Close to 100 people marched from the church to a home on 36th Place SE where a noose was found hanging from a house still under construction last week. That house was right across the street from Anne Beers Elementary School.

"It's important for me to be here because my son attends Anne Beers and we believe in peace and we want to send a message of unity," said Sarah Trembath. "If America is at a place where we're still harkening back to such violent images to communicate with each other we have to come and stand for the opposite."

The church group was joined by staff from the elementary school, DC Police Chief Peter Newsham and elected city leaders like Vincent Gray.

"Those 4400 men and women who work for this police department are absolutely appalled by what happened in this community and we're going to do everything that we possibly can to make sure we find out who is responsible because in this city we are inclusive and we do not tolerate hate or ignorance by cowards," said Newsham.

Many in the crowd were upset by the noose's appearance in the Hillcrest neighborhood but said that is unacceptable in any community.

"To me colors don't matter, the person matters," said Maria Stoneham, a 15-year resident of Southeast. "What difference does my color, his color, your color make to what kind of a person we are? It doesn't make a difference."

Stoneham said she sees a lot of bravery in the church's march and rally.

"They're not scared. We're not scared." said Stoneham. "We are upset, we are angry."