A historic African Meeting House in Nantucket, Mass., was vandalized with a racist message and lewd image, The Inquirer and Mirror reported Sunday.
The words “N—– Leave” and a phallic symbol were spray-painted on the building, the news outlet reported.
The Nantucket Police Department is investigating the incident, which was believed to have occurred sometime on Saturday night, according to the newspaper.
[email protected] are asking for the public’s help to find vandals who spray painted a racial slur and vulgar images on the African Meeting House in Nantucket. Officers are canvassing the neighborhood, & suspect it happened between 4pm yesterday & 6:45 this AM.#Nantucket pic.twitter.com/sAbXa0nH7m
— WBZ NewsRadio (@wbznewsradio) March 11, 2018
Island residents reportedly gathered to clean off the graffiti after police collected evidence. The building dates back to the 1820s.
“I broke down, I was hysterical. I cried,” African Meeting House director Charity-Grace Mofsen told the Inquirer and Mirror of seeing the vandalism.
But she said she was encouraged by the outpouring of support from other residents, who helped to clean off the message.
“So to see that once again we have people coming together when they see that something is wrong and hateful, we get together and say ‘this is not what we stand for, this is not what our island is about,’” Mofsen said. “I think it is good to see people come out and show their support.”
She added that she wanted to use the incident as a teaching moment for whoever committed the vandalism.
“They need to realize if it was directed to me personally, I’m not a threat to them. I’m your neighbor, I’m your friend. If it was to make a statement to the community, likewise,” Mofsen said, according to the newspaper.
“We are your neighbors, we are your friends and this is our home, too. Whatever hate they have, whatever it’s based in, there is no place for it here,” she added.
Local police described the African Meeting House as a community gathering spot that “has touched the lives of escaped slaves, Native Americans, Cape Verdeans, Quakers, educators and abolitionists over its history” since the 1800s, according to the newspaper.