Residents of Washington Street in New Glasgow woke up to a less than welcome surprise Monday morning as graffiti was discovered scrawled across a building as well as sidewalks down the street and surrounding sidewalks.
“I see a lot of hatred,” said Elizabeth Paris who is from the area and was looking to draw attention to the act of vandalism as something that needs to end. Words such as “run!,” “Killa-T” and “I won the fight” were crudely painted with black spray paint covering the walls; sad faces, and smiley faces were drawn all over as well.
“We can’t ignore something like this; it’s on the building, on the street,” Paris said.
One instance of a racial slur against those of black culture was found on one of the sidewalks as well as BLM scrawled across the street and a threat toward the movement saying, “watch out BLM.” Paris added that she and others from the community were relieved that the community church beside the vandalism was left untouched.
“When will we cross that road when discrimination isn’t here?” asked Paris. “We’ve suffered a lot through the black community here.”
Jeff Richard, owner of Gunners Mobile Wash, and one of his employees arrived midday Monday as per the request of the town to clean up the graffiti by spraying it down and using graffiti remover.
“Lately, it’s been getting more and more,” he said about graffiti that has been found around the county. “This is the biggest one we’ve seen yet.”
Richard and his business work with several of the towns to clean up issues like this and Richard also offered to Paris to clean up any graffiti for the church if it happened on the street again. Matt Jardine of Matt Jardines Roofing and Construction volunteered paint to help with cleanup as well.
“I think that it was a clear threat,” said Wayne Desmond, one of the co-ordinators of the Black Lives Matter movement. “People in Pictou County are not ready to see the change that is hopefully going to come.”
Desmond said that it is one thing to come for himself and the BLM movement and disrespect the community, but the fact that the hateful messages were positioned by the church says something else as not only has the church been known for a long time as the backbone to the community but it is a place for the elders in the community.
“When you position it next to the black church, that calls out our elders as well,” he said. “We’re all in shock that someone would go to this level.” Not only was the movement called out under “watch out BLM” graffiti but the perpetrators also scrawled BLM across the pavement and other areas as if they were pretending to be from the movement, which Desmond assured that anyone truly on board with what BLM means and stands for would not do this.
“I think it’s to take away from the progress of the movement,” Desmond said.
The matter is currently under investigation by the New Glasgow Regional Police who believe the incident took place between Friday, August 21 and the morning of August 23. The police are urging anyone with information to call the police station or the CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).
Jeff Richard, left, of Gunners Mobile Wash, and Elizabeth Paris of New Glasgow stand next to racist graffiti that began being cleaned up Monday morning after it was discovered on Washington Street next to Second United Baptist Church. (Brimicombe photo)