Jewish and other marginalized communities have been experiencing an upswing in vandalism in recent months and LGBT communities all over the nation have been no exception.
On March 6, 2017, The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma was vandalized. Surveillance video shows a white SUV approach the building around 12:30 a.m. A pellet gun was unloaded into the front to the building severely damaging the entrance, with other businesses nearby suffering minimal damage.
The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center has a 38 year history in Oklahoma and has not reported act of violence or vandalism at its current location in the last twelve years. Toby Jenkins, executive director of the center believes that this is not random act of violence.
Jenkins had this to say, “We’ve been here 38 years and we are very used to dealing with a culture that is not tolerant accepting, or supporting. You also have to ask yourself why did this happen after 12 years? What’s going on in our culture? What’s being said out of the White House? What is happening all over the country where we are targeting individuals and marginalized populations were people feel like it’s all right to drive by and shoot up the Equality Center?”
In Orlando, Florida the window of Orlando Equality was smashed were the agency logo and the ‘Equal Sign’ that symbolizes equal rights for the LGBT community was depicted. The deputy development director Michael Farmer expressed hope that the vandalism was not motivated by anti-LGBT bias. On June 12, 2016, The City of Orlando experienced the worst terrorist attack in U. S. history when Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub.
Reports of vandalism to LGBT community centers in the last month have also came out of Los Angles and New Jersey. New Jersey senator Cory Booker (D) spoke out against the attack, “I condemn acts of hate against all communities, whether Jewish, Muslim or LGBT, in the strongest possible terms.”
How long the increase in vandalism will go on remains to be seen, but as it stands now there seems to be no end in sight.