In the early-morning hours of Sept. 24, Bradd Easton left his Lincoln Square house that he shares with husband Jeff Zacharias and their college-aged daughter to walk their dog, like he normally does every morning.
That is when he found "anti white cuck" spray painted on his property's sidewalk in both black and white colors just below the staircase going to their front door. Their yard sign that states "Here we Believe Love is Love, No Human is Illegal, Black Lives Matter, Science is Real, Women's Rights are Human Rights, Water is Life, Kindness is Everything" was also spray-painted over; however, the "Hate Has No Home Here" sign that is affixed to the inside of their glass front door was untouched.
Zacharias noted that this happened between midnight when he went to bed and 7 a.m., when Easton left the house with their dog. Easton explained that he took pictures of the vandalism to document it and when he looked around to see if anyone else's home was vandalized he noticed one Black Lives Matter sign on their street was also sprayed over in white.
"We feel attacked and unsafe in our own home and neighborhood," said Easton. "This can happen to anyone in any neighborhood across America, especially in today's political climate. We urge everyone to speak out and fight this hate with love and kindness."
The couple has contacted the police and Easton said they are sending a crime-scene technician to their house to gather evidence. They have also contacted their Ald. Patrick O'Connor's office to alert him about this "alleged" hate crime.
A few blocks away, another family's home was also targeted with vandalism in the early morning hours of Sept. 24. Kat Hindmand (who lives with her wife Jennie Brier and their 8-year-old son) opened the front door at about 8:15 a.m. to retrieve the New York Times from the porch when she saw the sign that is affixed to the outside of their front door (there is also a screen door) that reads "Hate Has No Home Here" in multiple languages spray-painted over in white.
Hindmand said she took a picture to document it and reported the "alleged" hate crime to the Southern Poverty Law Center and O'Connor and their former Alderman Ameya Pawar's offices. She also posted the picture and a description of what happened on social media and alerted many of their neighbors, some of whom have decided to get the same sign and post it on their property in a sign of solidarity.
"It was sad and unsettling to discover that someone vandalized our message of acceptance," said Hindmand. "However, people of color are confronted by racist acts, often much worse than this, every day. And, the people who did this were clearly taught that accepting everyone is a threat. How do we address that?"
In recent months, Lincoln Square residents have seen an uptick in hate speech vandalism, sexual assaults, and armed robberies and burglaries.
About 500 people attended a rally and march to denounce hate last month in Lincoln Square after multiple white-supremacist messages were found spray-painted on sidewalks and garages in the neighborhood.