Martin Luther King Jr. statue vandalized with racist graffiti
Long Beach residents found the statue sprayed with white supremacist, Nazi-affiliated symbols Friday and called police.
A statue of iconic civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was recently vandalized in Long Beach, California.
Residents discovered the statue had been sprayed with white supremacist, Nazi-affiliated symbols on Friday afternoon and called local police, who responded and are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
A photo of the damage was shared to Twitter by a member of the community, who wrote: “This is the second time in two years that the Martin Luther King Jr. statue has been vandalized since it’s been up at MLK Park here in Long Beach. This city has a major hidden white supremacists issue and it needs to be addressed ASAP.”
As of late Monday, Long Beach police had no information or suspects.
“Over the holiday weekend our MLK statue at King Park was vandalized with horrific graffiti,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia wrote on Twitter. “The LBPD is investigating this as a hate crime and we are working to catch whoever committed this awful act.”
“Our MLK statue is a symbol of hope and justice for the community,” he added. “This hate and desecration has no place in our city.”
The bronze statue, located on Lemon Avenue in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, is a full-body replica of the iconic leader.
Long Beach City Councilwoman Suely Saro shared a photo of the statue as it was being cleaned Friday, declaring, “Hate has no home in Long Beach.”
Saro shared information about a rally on Saturday at the site, organized by local organization AOC & Neighborhood Group. She also encouraged residents to immediately report other hate crimes.
At the gathering, Saro called the incident “an attack on all of us.”
Mary Simmons, an organizer with the community-based group, who co-hosted the event with Rocio Torres, told The Long Beach Post something had to be done in response to an act she described as heartbreaking.
In photos from the rally, Simmons and others are seen holding signs reading, “No room for hate in Long Beach” and “White silence is violence.”
“Our hearts were broken when we saw the posts on social media,” Simmons said. “We can stand by and do nothing, or we can stand up against it.”