Loudoun County grapples with racism and anti-Semitism

In the same week the country observed Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, about 50 white supremacist flyers were dropped on driveways in Loudoun County

Racist and anti-Semitic graffiti was also found in the bathrooms of both Heritage High School and Loudoun County High School in Leesburg.

"We have to move beyond a discussion of ‘I can’t believe that this is happening' to 'how do we prevent this from happening in a real way?’" said Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, the president of the Loudoun NAACP Branch.

READ MORE: Racist writing found in Heritage High School bathrooms

Now, Thomas is calling for action, saying she’d like to see new legislation taking aim at these types of acts. And she wants more community education too.

"Every time you talk to the police they say it’s free speech," she added. "Somebody is paying for this, and let’s be clear, Black people are paying for this type of hate, Jewish people are paying for this type of hate, Latin American people – we’re paying for this type of hate, LGBTQ people. This is not free speech, it’s not free. Those who it is intended to intimidate, those that it is intended to harm, it is hitting. It is landing."

RELATED: White supremacy propaganda flyers found in Loudoun County driveways

Similar incidents have taken place in Loudoun County – and elsewhere – before. That includes anti-Semitic graffiti found at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda in December and on the nearby Bethesda Trolley Trail just one month before that in November. 

"So unfortunate," Bishop Shawn Stephens said of the most recent flyers found in Loudoun County. He had similar ones distributed in his Leesburg neighborhood – also on the same week as MLK Day – several years before.

"It is just so sad that we’re still dealing with this divisive behavior," Stephens told FOX 5. "This is 2023, and there is no place for this not just in Loudoun but even in our world."

If you know anything about either the flyers or the graffiti from this week, authorities want to hear from you. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is looking into the flyers, while the Leesburg Police Department is investigating the graffiti.