Paso Robles News|Wednesday, December 6, 2023
You are here: Home » Opinion » SLO mayor denounces anti-Semitic graffiti at Cal Poly Jewish fraternity
  • Follow Us!

SLO mayor denounces anti-Semitic graffiti at Cal Poly Jewish fraternity 

–By Heidi Harmon, mayor of San Luis Obispo

The Cal Poly Alpha Epsilon Pi House was vandalized on Friday night with Swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti. This was a hate crime – a clear attempt to make the Jewish students of our community more fearful, more anxious, and more vulnerable. And yet another act of white supremacy in our community.

While this crime was directed at Jewish students, the damage it does isn’t limited to those whose home was attacked this Friday. There is a ripple effect and the consequences radiate outward, impacting so many within our community. So we shall respond as a community.

Let me assure you that the San Luis Obispo Police Department is investigating this as a hate crime and will have every resource at their disposal to help bring these hate criminals to justice. This is a time for community policing; if you have any information that could assist SLO PD with their investigation, I encourage you to come forward. Let me also assure you that the city will be working closely with Cal Poly and our other government and community partners to ensure we provide for the safety and wellbeing for everyone here in San Luis Obispo, in particular community members who may be targets of hate and extremist groups.

As a city, we will continue to denounce acts like this as the hate crimes they are. And as your mayor, I will continue to advocate for policies and practices that will transform San Luis Obispo into a community of belonging for all. These responses are, of course, not nearly enough.

In this moment, I turn to the wisdom of SLO Hillel Rabbi Micah Hymen: “At Cal Poly, we learn by doing righteousness in the face of evil. We will continue to find ways to make our darkest hours into beacons of hope.”

We of the community here in San Luis Obispo also “learn by doing righteousness in the face of evil,” and Rabbi Micah’s words are a clarion call for us of the community too. Friday night’s attack invites us all to ask: what can we do to narrow the growing divisions within our community; what healing must happen within ourselves before our community can repair the harms of the past; what must transform within us before San Luis Obispo can become the community of belonging we all long for. While now is a time to express our outrage and call out these actions of hate, it is equally important that we urgently invest in doing the harder work of rooting out and counter-acting insidious forms of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination. These are what made what happened on Friday night an actual reality and not a theoretical nightmare. The real question now is…what happens next?

We can’t go back and change what happened or prevent it. But we can control what happens next. Now is the time for action. Our city has the resources, the determination, and the tenacity to build a community that belongs to every one of us, that allows every one of us to flourish and thrive, and that lets every one of us feel welcome and part of something greater here. Our actions now will be the strong antidote to those who have weaponized hate here.



Share To Social Media