SOUTH RIDING, Va. - Loudoun County residents rallied against hateful and racist graffiti that was found in the South Riding area of the county.
The "racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic graffiti" was found painted near the Food Lion in the South Riding Town Center on Friday, according to local group Loudoun4All, a community organization that supports equity.
About 50 local residents joined the rally, which took place along Tall Cedars Parkway, near where the graffiti was found.
"Hate has no home here in Loudoun County," said a press released from Loudoun4All. According to the event's Facebook page, the idea behind the rally was to show that the South Riding community won't tolerate the hateful rhetoric, while also showing "support for our diverse, inclusive community."
The graffiti was removed thanks to the help of community members and Timbers Landscaping Care LLC, after the Loudoun County Sheriff's office informed them that they could not remove the hateful message because they were on private, commercial property. In a Facebook post, Timbers Landscaping Care LLC called the move "erasing hate."
The Sheriff's Office said they are investigating the vandalism, adding that "there is no place in society for this behavior."
The Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney released the following statement about the graffiti:
"Without a doubt, Loudoun County is made better and stronger by the diversity of our residents. This weekend, our community was attacked by individuals who chose to graffiti the South Riding shopping center with vile and hateful markings. This public display of hate speech is sadly another reminder that there are some who will choose to try and divide our community, or worse threaten our safety. The intentional attack on specific, marginalized groups within our county will not be tolerated. We are a united community of one, and as such we must remain vigilant to protect our values and freedoms as Loudouners. If you have information on this incident and those responsible, please reach out to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office at 703-777-1919 and assist us in bringing them to justice. My office is committed to protecting our diverse communities and will continue to fight against racial, ethnic and religious hate wherever it rears its poisonous head."
Authorities have not released information about a possible suspect or suspects in the vandalism.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 703-777-1021.