Call it the case of the disappearing welcome signs.
A number of Bloomington-Normal residents are reporting that their corrugated plastic lawn signs offering a message of welcome in three languages have gone missing.
The signs say "No Matter Where You Are From, We're Glad You're Our Neighbor." They began appearing on front lawns shortly after President Donald Trump proposed a crackdown on immigrants and a travel ban on people from certain majority Muslim countries.
Susan Ryder, a pastor from Normal, said she believes the signs are being deliberately removed and that it might be related to the white supremacist demonstrations that rocked the nation this past weekend.
She said the message on the signs isn't political.
"The sign is not a political sign. The sign is about welcome and human decency, to let people know we welcome them not matter where they are from, who they are, or what language they speak."
Ryder said when she posted on the Facebook group for Not In Our Town that her sign was apparently removed, three other people responded that their signs were also gone. Two others said their signs were taken previously. Not In Our Town is an organization that promotes tolerance and social justice.
"It made me wonder if it had something to do with events of this weekend in Charlottesville and the responses that have been going on ever since that, whether this was something more serious than a prank and is perhaps an intentional action," Ryder said.
Ryder, who is co-pastor of New Covenant Community Church, says she will ask police to investigate. She plans to replace her sign. The welcome signs are available at First Christian Church in Bloomington.
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