"We want to be part of the solution:" Milwaukee church hangs "Black Lives Matter" sign on building

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It's an effort to stimulate systemic change. Leaders of a church in Milwaukee have joined the fight against racial and social injustices. The religious community is not made up of minorities, but in support, church leaders feel as though they need to be another voice of outrage.

A banner with the words "Black Lives Matter" hangs outside the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee on North Astor Street.

"I want those intimately engaged in the struggle to see our support," Mary Devitt, a member of the church said.

The phrase on the outside of the building speaks to the values of those on the inside.

"We want all people to thrive," First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee Senior Interim Minister Elaine Beth Peresluha said.

"One of the reasons I belong to this church is our principles form that kind of work in the community. They call us to fight for justice and equality and respect for every human life," Devitt said.

Devitt helped to lead the effort to get the banner in place. She is heavily involved in the demonstrations supporting the family of 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton, shot and killed by former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney in April 2014 in Red Arrow Park. She says this effort at her church extends her quest for justice.

"We need to change the way we respect black lives in our society as a whole. They need better education, jobs -- to be in a situation where they are not so vulnerable. This taking of black lives without consequence needs to stop," Devitt said.

Devitt's efforts are backed by the Peresluha, the church's senior interim minister.

"There`s a huge discrepancy now between the resources available to the dominant white culture and  African-American culture and we don`t want that we want that to change. We want everyone to have access to all the best that our country has to offer," Peresluha said.

With Milwaukee being one of the most segregated cities in the country, church members say the change must come from engagement and that starts with the "Black Lives Matter" sign on the church and subsequent dialogue and action.

"We are very concerned here and we want to be part of the solution. We want to have that conversation and feel that community engagement," Mark Gill, a member of the church said.

This sign isn't the only way church leaders are making an effort to stand in solidarity with the African-American community. Peresluha has a blog dedicated to the "Black Lives Matter" movement.