NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the second time in a week, a south shore neighborhood on Staten Island has been hit with hate and targeted with racist graffiti.
But as CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, the victims in the most recent case are responding in a way you might not expect.
In a neighborhood where American flags adorn the fronts of homes and Halloween decorations are on display, the message of hate stands out in a sickening way.
“It’s hard and very upsetting to know that someone could have that much hate for someone of a certain religion or a certain race,” said vandalism victim Halle Calabrese.
At 17 years old, Calabrese said she has never felt targeted for being Jewish – until her family woke up to the swastika and the anti-Semitic slur Tuesday morning.
“We are scared. We are nervous,” she said. “We don’t know who it was, and we don’t know what we’re dealing with.”
Neighbors passing by looked on in disgust. They were determined, though, not to let the intolerance taint their Wirt Avenue community.
“In these times — it’s, you know, 2017 — you shouldn’t, you know, shouldn’t have to deal with things like that,” said neighbor Drew Padell.
“I can’t believe this has happened here,” said neighbor Mark Mastro.
While CBS2’s crew was in the Rossville neighborhood, NYPD detectives were too. The Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the vandalism as a possible bias crime.
The incident comes a week after somebody scratched the N-word and the words “get out” into the hood of a car belonging to a family in nearby Annadale.
“No one should go through this,” Calabrese said.
The message is so disturbing a lot of people would have already painted over it. But Calabrese’s family said for now, they’re leaving it up for a reason.
“We don’t want it to just be pushed away,” Calabrese said. “We’re not afraid of words. We are proud of who we are. Nothing can change that.”
But they do want the ignorant person who was responsible caught as soon as possible.