Virginia Beach, VA. – Dozens of community members came out the Green Run neighborhood on Saturday to take action for two homes that were vandalized earlier this week.
“Within the same week we had the lowest of lows and the highest of highs,” says Shannon Kane, a Virginia Beach city councilwoman.
On Monday morning, Joseph Spiers, a resident on Woodbridge Trail, says he woke up to paint splattered on the side of his home. Next door, he saw even more of the paint on his neighbors’ home, along with several racial slurs and images of a confederate flag and swastika.
Pieri Burton, a community organizer, posted about the incident on Facebook to see who would be interested in taking action on Saturday to clean-up the home. Dozens of volunteers showed up ready to help, including Home Depot staff and total strangers to families’ who had their homes vandalized.
“It started with just doing the house, painting it, getting the supplies to do that, then they start talking about putting the fence up, then putting bricks in the backyard where the old bricks were, flowers, I mean they just keep on blessing us,” says Peter Metz, the owner of one of the vandalized homes. “Some people just walked by and just started helping.”
What started as a clean-up effort turned into completely revamping the homes, which included planting gardens, building new fences, and installing backyard lights.
Volunteers also brought food, music, even t-shirts designed specifically for “stomping out the hate," to make the event more of a celebration.
“They tried to divide us but it actually made the community closer," says Spiers. "It’s really a blessing.”
Virginia Beach Police say they are investigating the vandalized homes.