A group of residents from the Fleetwood area of Surrey spent some time in the rain Monday, spreading the message that hate is not welcome in their community.
The neighbours are calling for unity and love in response to vandalism at Fleetwood Park sometime over the weekend.
A picnic table was painted with hateful graffiti, including a swastika, some racist remarks against the South Asian community and the words “whites only.”
The graffiti was quickly cleaned up but when community members returned to the park Monday, it was back.
They cleaned it up again and put up signs saying ‘Hate has no place here’ and ‘No space for hate’.
Braden Remillard lives in the area and said on Sunday morning he saw a post on the Facebook Fleetwood Community page and was shocked to see the racist vandalism.
“To see something like that, it was really disheartening to see that someone could put such a hateful message out like that to the community,” he said.
Remillard was the one who cleaned up the graffiti on Sunday.
He said it was encouraging to see people come out in the rain on Monday with the message that everyone should be included and feel welcome.
“That’s what Canada’s about,” he said. “Everyone’s here to enjoy the country and have freedom.”
Remillard said he hopes the gathering Monday shows others that they are a community that comes together in love and respects each other.
Julia Pirog also attended the event Monday and said she saw the same Facebook page Remillard did.
“I wanted to do something to show the community that people are looking to support each other and don’t want to spread fear and this type of thing won’t be tolerated,” she said.
It is not known who defaced the table with the racist messages.
Global News has reached out to Surrey RCMP but has not yet heard back to find out if they are investigating.
In a statement, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said “I am disgusted by this and l will be talking to the OIC of Surrey RCMP to see if they can find the perpetrator who committed this tasteless and hurtful act.
“Surrey thrives on its diversity. Hate speech and racist views have absolutely no place in our City. The gathering at Fleetwood Park today shows the true nature of Surrey where we celebrate our inclusivity and stand united against hate.”