As we went to press Wednesday evening, a group was gathering at the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum to begin scrubbing away at hate — in this case graffiti, vulgar and including a racial slur, strewn on the wooden fence leading to the museum’s newly unveiled Wikun Village.
State police are investigating the incident, which occurred some time overnight and was discovered Wednesday morning. Strewn across the stockade fencing, leading to an educational center, was silver and black graffiti — mostly symbols, but also obscenities and a racial slur.
On the East End, we have many reasons to be outraged this time of year that ultimately hold little water when held up to a deeply saddening crime such as this. Whether it was perpetrated by youth — local or from out of town — or older individuals who have held onto hatred in their lives, destruction like this carries a message, one of intolerance, ignorance and a lack of clarity it is hard to believe still exist today.
But it does.
Naturally, we want to see the perpetrators of what could be viewed as a hate crime face consequences for their actions. But this is also a moment where we as a community can rally around the Shinnecock Nation and show them our support. The nation is accepting financial contributions to help replace the fence and a shed damaged in the incident, but is also looking for volunteers. To lend a hand, call 287-4932.
Even better yet — make a donation, but also visit the museum, learn about Shinnecock history and culture and bring your children with you. Do your part to end cycles of hatred and ignorance by combating it with the greatest tool at our disposal — education.