Local News

Pro-immigrant signs burned in Durham

Posted April 14, 2017 12:50 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2017 4:51 p.m. EDT

— Community activists in Durham said Friday they are disappointed someone set yard signs welcoming those of different backgrounds ablaze.

Four signs, including two calling for President Donald Trump to be impeached, were set on fire Thursday morning outside homes in the 2200 block of Englewood Avenue in the Watts-Hillandale neighborhood.

Two of the burned signs read, "No matter where you are from, we're glad you're our neighbor," in English, Spanish and Arabic.

"Very little surprises me right now as far as the lack of tolerance on people’s opinions, but I do think that this is my space, and I can say what I want. You may not agree, but you’re welcome to talk to me about it, but you’re not welcome to come and damage what I’ve put out," resident Beverly Tucker said. "I’m sure that frightened, ignorant people on both ends of the spectrum are the ones that are either destroying or removing signs they don’t agree with."

Resident Susan Orovitz said she doesn't understand why anyone would consider a sign saying everyone is welcome as controversial enough to destroy.

"It doesn't seem like it's a political sign to me. It seems like I'm just saying (they're) welcome. The thing that's really upsetting to me, as a Jewish person, is, at one point, we weren't welcome," Orovitz said. "Now, it's th eHispanic people and the Muslim people."

Tucker said the signs were burned during daylight hours because embers were still smoldering when she discovered the vandalism shortly after 8 a.m.

Police said they are investigating the incidents.

Tucker had already replaced her pro-immigrant sign by Friday morning, and she and Orovitz said they will not let a scare tactic silence their opinions.

"Durham’s a great place, and I’m proud to have neighbors from all over, and I want to be welcoming. I think the city and state should be," Tucker said.

"I’m going to resist and persist," Orovitz said. "It’s free speech. I wasn’t hurting anybody. To have someone damage my property seems just extreme."