SOUTH RIDING, Va. — Residents in Loudoun County gathered to stand up against hate and bigotry days after racist and antisemitic vandalism was found in the South Riding community.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the graffiti which included a swastika, the n-word and other offensive terms targeting different groups including the LGBTQ+ community.
The graffiti was discovered on the side and grounds of the former Food Lion building.
Sheriff Mike Chapman said a second incident since Friday is also under investigation. The vandalism was found at the Bed Bath & Beyond at Dulles Landing with similar hateful remarks. Chapman said the two incidents could be related.
Different organizations including the Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES, Equality Loudoun and the Loudoun County NAACP joined forces to condemn the actions no matter how big or small.
"To me, this isn't graffiti," Pastor Michelle Thomas of Loudoun County NAACP said. “This is the racial writings of a racist people.”
“The criminals who did these disgusting acts knew exactly what they were doing is wrong,” Former LCPS board member Andrew Hoyler said.
Among the speakers were elected officials, including former Virginia lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax, who stressed to “elevate” others and the need to gather so hate does not exist in the commonwealth.
“We must keep on doing the consistent good deeds to respond and drown out this hate,” Rizwan Jaka of Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES said.
“We're tired of hatefulness and we want to show unity and show up for our brothers and sisters,” Loudoun County resident Renise Lerech told WUSA9.
Outside of calling on spreading more love and education, there was a strong sense to do more legislatively.
Thomas emphasized the need to make policy changes.
“We need to think deeply and critically about what's happening to us in Loudoun because hate doesn't just appear or show up,” Thomas told WUSA9.
Police are currently asking anyone from the public to come forward if they have any information. Those who can share details are asked to call Detective Fornwalt at 703-777-1021.
Just three weeks ago, dozens came together to support the Jewish community after antisemitic graffiti was found on Bethesda Trail in Montgomery County, Maryland.