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Noose found at Obama Presidential Center construction site in Chicago

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- A noose was found at the construction site of the Obama Presidential Center Thursday evening, officials said.

"This shameless act of cowardice and hate is designed to get attention and divide us. Our priority is protecting the health and safety of our workforce," the Obama Foundation said in a statement. "We have notified authorities who are investigating the incident."

When completed, the Obama Presidential Center will become a museum and public gathering space in honor of the first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama, and first lady Michelle Obama.

A noose is identified as a hate symbol against Black Americans, the Anti-Defamation League states, as a stark reminder of lynching in the U.S.

"Violence or threat of violence replaced slavery as one of the main forms of social control that whites used on African-Americans," according to the ADL.

Officers responded at approximately 4 p.m. to a noose hanging in a stairwell at the construction site, according to Chicago police.

The site is run by Lakeside Alliance, a joint venture between four Black-owned construction firms -- Brown & Momen, Powers & Sons Construction, Safeway Construction and UJAMAA Construction -- and primary contractor Turner Construction.

Lakeside Alliance said construction has been halted at the site, and it is offering a $100,000 reward for information to find the culprit, according to a statement provided to Chicago ABC station WLS-TV.

"This morning we were informed that an act of hate was discovered at the project site," the organization told WLS. "We reported the incident to the police and will provide any assistance required to identify those responsible."

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker condemned the incident on Twitter, saying, "Hate has no place in Illinois."

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