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Artist Moves Quickly To Cover Hate Symbol In Hillcrest

The word

Photo by Andi Dukleth

Above: The word "love" and images of hearts have been spray painted over a swastika by community members in Hillcrest, Oct. 3, 2020.

Hillcrest is a bustling community, especially over the weekend. It's why local artist J. J. Floyd was looking forward to checking out one of the thrift shops.

“I decided to have a really good day,” he said.

Listen to this story by Andi Dukleth.

But as he was walking down on 5th Street last Saturday, he saw a man, who appeared to be homeless, painting a black swastika on the sidewalk.

“When I realized what it was and that it was actually real, I was like, `I should actually stay here.’”

Reported by Andi Dukleth

In the cell phone video he took, Floyd can be heard asking the man to either wipe away or cover up the hate symbol. The man can be heard saying it was “a symbol of his people.”

What alarmed Floyd the most was seeing how “business as usual” everyone else seemed to be.

“People would look down at it, recognize what it is, then continue to walk,” he said.

Floyd decided to do something about it. He got a hold of a few friends and local business owners, and together they bought spray paint and covered up the symbol.

Now if you walk down the sidewalk on 5th street, you see red hearts and the word “love” spray-painted over the unsightly graffiti.

But positive as that may be, Floyd said we need to be better about not staying passive when faced with scenarios like this.

“For me it was more devastating how dismissive and complacent people were. When we allow things like this to go unresolved, that’s when people are encouraged to continue to do it.”

It is unknown when the city will clean up the paint. Anyone who wishes to report on graffiti can do so on the city’s Get it done App.

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