Family vows to move forward after Black Lives Matter signs are vandalized

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COLUMBIA, IL (KTVI) – Someone is repeatedly defacing a Columbia, Illinois family`s 'Black Lives Matter' yard signs.

The couple that owns the home is white, with a white son and white daughter, and two adopted black sons.

They live in a mostly white neighborhood in the oldest part of the city.

'I knew something was going to happen,' said Eric Read, 20, one of the couple`s African-American sons. 'I didn`t know how bad or good it would be but I knew something was going to happen,' he said.

Read says despite the racial diversity of their family, they have never felt the sting of intolerance until three weeks ago, when someone defaced a 'Black Lives Matter' sign his mom planted in their yard, covering over the word 'matter' with stickers printed with the word 'all.'

'It was cute at first, we thought someone was trying to come to be peaceful but from there it just escalated and got worse,' Read said.

The next day, someone cut the word 'black' off the sign.

So the family replaced that sign with a new one, but the trouble continued, when someone painted over the 'V' to turn 'lives' into 'lies.'

So they put up another sign, this time on the house and left a note wrapped in plastic on the front porch inviting anyone who has a problem with their signs to come over and talk about it.

The next day they found someone had painted over the note.

'It is just stressful for my parents because they are trying to exercise freedom is speech and people are violating it,' Read said.

'Definitely disappointing,' said Reed`s sister, Caitlin Leonard.

'It doesn`t mean only just black lives matter, it means they matter too,' she said.

Columbia Police say they are using every resource they have to solve the case.

'I would like to think it`s a juvenile type crime where somebody is just goofing off and a lot of times they don`t realize the seriousness of it when they do it, but the bottom line is it`s a crime,' said Chief Joseph Edwards.

'If you knew my parents, they don`t back down from stuff like that,' Reed said.

'My mom was very persistent and said we will keep putting the signs up no matter if she has to go buy more, she`ll buy more signs,' he said.

'They are going to continue to stay up.'

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