A Chicago-area church, with a largely Latino congregation, was the target of racially-charged vandalism at least twice since Easter Sunday.
On Tuesday, Reverend Emma Lozano of the Lincoln United Methodist Church, found in Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood announced on her Facebook page that the doors to the church had been vandalized twice since Easter service, which included a sermon by Reverend Jesse Jackson praising the importance of immigrants to this country.
The vandalism included a message that said “Rape Mexico” and a swastika with the words “real power” below it.
Instead of cowering in fear, Rev. Lozano has fired back, warning that the rhetoric of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the two leading Republican presidential hopefuls, were the real culprit.
“It’s part of the political climate, the rhetoric of the candidates that are coming out and that saying ‘deport all of the Mexicans, Mexicans are rapists,’ this is fueling that courage,” she told CBS Chicago. “We’re gonna beef up security, but we’re not going to be afraid.”
Rev. Lozano also warned that white supremacy and the fear of the other wasn’t just reserved to America’s heartland (cough Whichita, Kan., cough).
“I know we think that these ‘white power’ advocates are only in other communities, but we should be aware that the wave of racism across the nation, evident in large crowds at Trump and Cruz rallies, is emboldening those who would carry out acts of terror to sneak int our communities under the cover of darkness,” Lozano told Chicagoist. “Some group has determined to send us a message. Of course, we will in no way be intimidated—but we will inform our community and we will remain alert.”
On the one hand, it’s encouraging and emboldening to see a religious Latina leader not back down and be willing to fight and defend her congregation. On the other, bigotry is still very much a thing. Which reminds us, White supremacists, can you just not?