Members of San Francisco's Armenian community were dealt an appalling sight Friday when they discovered the KZV Armenian School and its shouldering community center were painted with hateful, racist graffiti by vandals in the night.
Reported by various local news outlets (KTVU, SFGate, NBC Bay Area), another spate of racism unfolded yesterday in San Francisco. This time, however, it wasn't an individual subjected to such malice, but rather two local Armenian community and educational facilities.
The KZV Armenian school in San Francisco was vandalized overnight as part of a series of global attacks on #Armenians incited by #Azerbaijan’s racist govt. that has seen Armenians attacked in Russia, businesses burnt in Ukraine, and our embassy targeted in Germany. pic.twitter.com/2NgKWXjHrA— Alex Galitsky (@algalitsky) July 24, 2020
"As I came today at [eight] this morning, I saw the graffiti on the walls," said school principal Grace Andonian to KTVU about the vandalism. "I was shocked. I was appalled. The community is in shock. Our families, students, alumni, they were all in shock to see these hate messages on the wall."
Vandals spray-painted graffiti on almost every single wall at KZV Armenian School, leaving distasteful, racist remarks that referenced the Armenian Genocide which took place between April 1915 and May 1918. (Described as an "ethnic cleansing," it's estimated at least one million Armenians lost their lives during the over three-year campaign.)
The many painted messages contained not only curse words but also racist epithets of the Armenian people. Similar incidences to this have appeared across the nation and global due to the increased tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a recent border dispute. For example: SFGate noted in their reporting of Friday's spoliation that earlier this week, several people were injured after protests turned violent outside the Azerbaijan Consulate in Los Angeles.
One person was also arrested in that incident.
Both Mayor Breed and SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin expressed their disgust and "outrage" over the incident, each adding that such acts have no place in our city.
Hate like this has no place anywhere in San Francisco, especially at a school. This is shameful. The Armenian community is an important part of our city, and we stand with them. https://t.co/MB9PtgslhU— London Breed (@LondonBreed) July 25, 2020
"The Armenian community is an important part of our city, and we stand with them," the San Francisco mayor tweeted, with Boudin earlier saying "this is totally inconsistent with San Francisco values" and that his office is working with SFPD to hold the people responsible for this "CRIME" accountable.
Someone vandalized the Armenian school/community center. I'm outraged. This is totally inconsistent with San Francisco values. It is also a CRIME. We are working with @sfpd to investigate. We stand with our Armenian brothers and sisters.https://t.co/xUp2FYqGT4— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) July 24, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also tweeted out her revulsion over the event, saying “the hateful defacing of this place of community & learning is a disgrace.”
Each and every one of us has a duty to stand up to hate wherever it appears. The KZV Armenian School is a part of the beautiful fabric of our San Francisco family. The hateful defacing of this place of community & learning is a disgrace.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 25, 2020
SFPD has said their special investigations unit will be leading an investigation into the crime. Per NBC Bay Area, officers have said the possibility of this being a hate crime "isn’t being ruled out," but they said the investigation is still in its early stages.
Any helpful tips and insights into the vandalism can be shared — anonymously or not — with local law enforcement by calling or texting SFPD’s Tip Line at (415) 575-4444; texts should start with the keyword "SFPD,” followed by the message.
Image: Courtesy of Twitter via @DKhodanian