An Indo-Canadian family in Summerland, B.C., targeted by what police describe as hate-motivated vandalism, is raising money — not for themselves, but for the community at large.
Abhishek Lekhi says the family is setting a goal of $7,500 with 100 per cent of the proceeds going towards creating a mural in the District of Summerland to celebrate unity and diversity.
RCMP continue to investigate after vandals used red spray paint to tag Ramesh and Kiran Lekhi’s home with a swastika and other disturbing images and phrases on Monday night.
Rocks were also tossed through two windows at the Hespler Road property.
Police believe the incident is linked to similar hateful graffiti that was discovered on the town’s Memorial Park bandshell on Tuesday morning.
Summerland RCMP Sgt. David Preston says both incidents are being investigated as hate crimes. No suspects have been arrested.
After going public with their story, son Abhishek Lekhi says the family has been overwhelmed by the extraordinary response from the community.
“The outpouring of support over the last few days has just been tremendous and hard to put into words,” he told Global News on Thursday.
“People have come by and dropped flowers off, have offered painting and cleaning services, and as much as we appreciate that, we didn’t know how everyone could get involved, so the best way we thought people could see their contribution would be placing a symbol in Summerland.”
As of 2:00 p.m. Thursday the Lekhi family nearly reached their goal, raising more than $6,000 through an online crowdfunding campaign in just four hours.
“We hope this symbol represents unity. Summerland isn’t like this, Summerland is a supportive area and such a great community and we hope this mural represents what Summerland is about and how inclusive of a community it is.”
Meanwhile, the community is rallying to support the Lekhi family by holding a drive-by parade on Thursday night.
Supporters are meeting in the parking lot of the Summerland arena and Summerland high school at 7:15 p.m. and plan to drive past the family home at 7:30 p.m.
Participants are encouraged to wave Canadian flags for the Canadian family.
“We understand we are not the only ones who have experienced racism and we just want people to know that it is out here,” Lekhi said.
A link to the GoFundMe page can be found here.