A noose has been found at the construction site of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, temporarily halting construction work.
Chicago police are investigating after the looping rope was discovered Thursday in a widely condemned act of racism.
The noose symbolizes the lynching of thousands of former slaves and their descendants during the Jim Crow era following the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, where they were hunted down, killed and often hung from trees.
“This outrageous act of cowardice and hate is designed to draw attention and divide us,” the Obama Foundation said, according to NBC News.
“Our number one priority is protecting the health and safety of our employees. We have notified authorities who are investigating this incident.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker tweeted: “Hate has no place in Illinois. The noose isn’t just a symbol of racism, it’s a heart-pounding reminder of the violence and horror suffered by Black Americans for centuries .
“I condemn this hateful act in the strongest possible terms, and the state of Illinois will provide all necessary resources to help apprehend the perpetrators.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, a $100,000 reward has been offered for the capture of those responsible.
The incident led to a temporary halt to construction, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing the construction consortium that is building the center.
“The Chicago Police Department is aware of this matter and is investigating,” police spokesman Alex Aguas said in an email.
The Noose was reported to police by the Lakeside Alliance, a construction team of black-owned firms that are building the Obama Presidential Center, which will be a museum and public gathering place honoring Barack and Michelle Obama, the first first african american president and first lady
Construction on the site began in 2021 and the center will open in 2025.