Standing shoulder to shoulder, holding signs, folks in West Seattle are standing up against hate after anti-Semitic messages were discovered in the Sunrise Heights neighborhood earlier in the week.
In bright red letters, someone spray-painted the word "Jew" on a garage. Another hateful message was also painted in the alley.
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“As a Jewish person, I was shocked and unhappy. I wasn't surprised,” Rachel Glass said.
Glass, co-founder of Hate Free Delridge, which organized today's demonstration, said she's troubled by a dramatic rise in hate crimes in Washington state in 2017. A recent FBI report shows a 42 percent increase of hate crimes in the state from 2016 to 2017, with Seattle nearly doubling the number reported from the year before.
“They are becoming more bold. What we need to do, rather than clean up things really fast before anybody sees them is to publicize them, and to show our neighbors that this is what's going on their neighborhood,” Glass added.
By coming together, with people of all ages, even holding a brief dance in the middle of the intersection, neighbors say the demonstration will make them stronger and able to fight back against hate.
Henry Noble made a point to attend from Northeast Seattle.
“Spray-painting sucks and the fact that the neighborhood is coming together to support the people that were attacked, I think is marvelous and I want to support that,” Noble explained.
Today's rally also happens to fall on the first night of Hanukkah, an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the Festival of Lights. Glass wondered if the timing of these hateful messages was intentional - meant to provoke fear the week before Hanukkah. If so, she has her own message for the vandal.
“We will keep going. Our light will ultimately shine stronger than what the haters are attempting to do,” said Glass.
Seattle police are investigating the incidents as a hate crime. No arrests have been made.
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