Graffiti outside the public bathroom in Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, June 2020. (Photo/File)
Graffiti outside the public bathroom in Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, June 2020. (Photo/File)

Swastika, racist graffiti in Vallejo being investigated as hate crime

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A swastika with the slogan “white power” and an anti-black slur were found spray-painted on a wall outside a public bathroom in Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo on Wednesday morning.

The Vallejo Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime, according to a Facebook post from the department.

“Hate crimes will not be tolerated in our community, let alone in one of the most diverse cities in America,” it read, calling the incident “deplorable” and “hate-motivated.”

Matthew Finkelstein, development chair on the board of Progressive Zionists of California, commented, “The Jewish community of Vallejo stands in solidarity with our Black community. As a Jew and a resident of the city, I know how intimately our histories and stories are connected. This vandalism is the work of a coward, a weak attempt to intimidate us, because white supremacists are terrified of the power of Black-Jewish solidarity. We look forward to working with Black communal leaders to find the perpetrator, hold them accountable, and build an even stronger Vallejo.”

Seth Brysk, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League for the Central Pacific, also condemned the incident, referencing the current nationwide protests against racial injustice. The anti-black threat included the N-word and said, “watch out I’m coming to kill you.”

“Clearly, white supremacists view our national reckoning with racism as an opportunity for exploitation,” Brysk wrote in a message to J. “It is reprehensible. The vile graffiti confirms the persistence of extremism, threatening our neighbors, community and values. The vandalism is a cowardly attempt to intimidate, which will not succeed because we know black lives matter and love is stronger than hate.”

A Vallejo resident who came across the graffiti during his routine morning walk in the park around 8:45 a.m. He said he was “shocked” to find it.

“I haven’t seen anything like that in Vallejo before,” he told J. “I said to myself, I need to report this.”

After taking photos of the graffiti, the Vallejo resident flagged down some nearby park authorities, who said they had just become aware of the incident. A couple of hours later, he said he went back to the site and found that the walls had been painted over.

Later that day, the City of Vallejo’s Facebook posted photos of the painted-over walls and newly created posters that read “Reject Hate” and “#BlackLivesMatter.”

“I think the whole community was kinda shocked by this,” the Vallejo resident said. “It was good to see [them] rally together. Unfortunately, this is the world we’re living in.” In addition to the graffiti, the door and lock on the bathroom’s supply closet were damaged.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.