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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released the following statement regarding the federal hate crime charges filed against Holden Matthews in the  church burnings in Louisiana:

The hate crimes committed by Holden Matthews in St. Landry Parrish, Louisiana, serve as a stark reminder of the current climate in America that is rife with racism and anti-blackness. Far too often, Black communities find themselves subjected to the ills of white supremacists that seek to diminish and hinder our hope, progress, and standing in this country. This act of domestic terrorism proves to be no different. Holden’s targeting of Black churches is a microcosm of the attitude toward others in America who don’t identify as white — fueled by the divisive policies and rhetoric of those in elected office.

Churches are incredibly influential in Black culture and serve as a safe space for convening. All Americans deserve to feel safe in their churches, schools, and homes. Hate crimes such as these must be investigated and prosecuted fully at the local and federal level. The NAACP will continue to push Congress for additional hearings and concrete next steps to thwart acts of domestic terrorism against communities of color.