San Jose, CA (KPIX) — A San Jose dental clinic that serves mainly Native Americans may have been the target of racist messages, according to the staff.
“Absolutely we are being targeted,” said Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley Director of Development and Communications Gerardo Loera. “It seems super passive aggressive.”
Loera said surveillance cameras caught a person on Tuesday around 5:15 a.m. walking their two dogs, stopping and then crouching where staff later discovered the letters “WLM” near the entrance of the building.
“White lives matter, WLM,” Loera said.
But it wasn’t the first time they said they were victimized. On June 23rd, Loera said staff found the words “White Power Forever” at the both the front and back entrances of the building, located at 1333 Meridian Avenue. Both times, the words were written in chalk.
“Being that we are identified as American Indian, I think it makes us an easy target for people who want to lash out against movements like Black Lives Matter which we are obviously very much in support of,” said Loera.
The staff at the dental and health clinic, had taken a knee and held signs in support of the Black Lives Movement, said Loera, just before the first instance of vandalism. He believes that’s why they’ve been targeted.
“We are living in an era where hate crimes have been normalized and encouraged from as far up as the White House,” said Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Zahra Billoo.
CAIR, a non-profit organization that works with other advocacy groups on hate crimes in the Bay Area, has documented an increase in racist attacks this year. Billoo said reporting incidents is more important than ever.
“We need it to be able to advocate on their behalfs, but it also helps understand the depth of the problem,” Billoo said. “Freedom of speech is expansive it does not, however, include vandalism or hate crimes period, end of sentence.”
Loera said that they have filed a police report, and that they are investigating the incidents.
“This should by no means be taken lightly,” Loera said. “Scribbling on our sidewalks is light in comparison to the type of oppressive actions that we’ve experienced. We’re here to stay.”
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