WELLSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Signs that say don’t give hate a home here, love everyone, and Wellsville is a place for good neighbors replace a swastika and racist graffiti message that was painted on the same wall on election night.
“We will not be defined or described by this graffiti. This is not the community of Wellsville what you saw on USA Today,” said Randy Shayler, Mayor elect of the Village of Wellsville.
“I was surprised, disappointed that this would happen in my hometown,” said Michael Cady.
Community members reacted quickly and painted over the swastika and racist message almost immediately. Some believe the act itself was a sign of the times.
“I think in the past we were a kinder society and if those hateful feelings were in somebody they didn’t let them out they had been trained to be kind and not express them,” said David Fredrickson.
David Fredrickson created signs that say ‘Make America Kind Again’ to counteract the racist message that made national headlines. These ‘Make America Kind Again’ signs are in different spots throughout the village.
“It had a heart instead of a swastika and we were trying to get a different message and start a different conversation in the village,” said Fredrickson.
“This is a case of somebody with some stupid idea that found somewhere out of the way to do a stupid act,” said Shayler.
Governor Cuomo has ordered a joint investigation of the graffiti incident between State Police and the New York Divison of Human Rights.
Earlier this week the Governor Cuomo also launched a hotline to report incidents of bias and discrimination. Police say the racist message was an isolated incident, and they’re still trying to figure out who’s responsible for the graffiti in Wellsville.
According to city-data.com, less than 1% of the population of Wellsville is African American: http://www.city-data.com/city/Wellsville-New-York.html