Multiple Seattle churches targeted with anti-Asian hate speech

SEATTLE — Anti-Asian hate messages have people in a North Seattle neighborhood alarmed. The messages were written out in the parking lots of two churches, which both serve diverse communities.

The incident happened in Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood and people say it’s not the first time they’ve come across racist messages.

“I think it’s really inappropriate and racist. And it’s not founded because we’ve all been going through this pandemic globally,” said Adriana Vega-Harris, who lives in the neighborhood. She said she last noticed a racist message about a month and a half ago.

The messages say “F--- China” and “You will pay” and are written out using what appears to be straw or hay in the International Full Gospel Fellowship (IFGF) Church parking lot. The messages were right next to an early learning center.

Another neighbor and a friend to the pastor of IFGF church said it’s the fourth time the church had been targeted.

One of the incidents was posted about in the Pinehurst Community Facebook Group.

But this time, a similar message was also left in the parking lot of Grace Chinese Lutheran Church.

“You don’t do this. This is a school, this is where children live,” said Richard Watanade, who said he is half-Japanese, half-Native American.

“My dad was put in an internment camp in World War II. I know about racism since I was a young kid,” Watanade said.

He said he saw a small group of people spelling out the messages overnight.

“This place has been targeted over four, five times, and it’s terrible,” Watanade said.

“You kind of don’t think it’ll happen where you’ll live,” said Yann, who attends Grace Chinese Lutheran Church. He declined to share his last name and said he is concerned about who is bringing the hate to the community — and if things could escalate.

Yann said it has him taking precautions.

“Traveling with people sort of helps,” Yann said. “Probably more by car than by walking,” he said.

But people are also showing their support by leaving flowers, messages and drawings.

“I put up the sign and the flowers,” Watanade said. “It matters about humanity, you know?”

Malia Katy DiSalvo, who first posted the photos in the Facebook group, commented that she has filed a report with Seattle police.

A spokesperson for SPD said the report is likely still processing and couldn’t pull up details on the investigation as of Monday evening but added that it’s safe to say the Bias Crimes Unit will be investigating.