Washington, D.C.—In response to the arrest of Holden Matthews in connection with arson at three historically black churches in Louisiana, People For the American Way issued the following statement:
“These church burnings evoke the darkest days of the Jim Crow South. Burning a black church is meant to intimidate and threaten, and to send the message that there is no safe place for black people in a community. We condemn these acts of hatred, just as we condemn hate in all forms.
“We urge public officials in Louisiana to demand accountability and a just outcome commensurate with the seriousness of the attack on the black community in Port Barre and Opelousas. This is especially important where, as here, the suspect in this case is the child of a local law enforcement officer.”