A Long Beach, California, man was targeted with racist graffiti left on his van.
Joe Solis, who is of Jewish and Mexican heritage, found the word “illegal” spray-painted on the side of his vehicle after being notified by a neighbor, Mic reports.
When he first discovered the graffiti, he didn’t initially consider it an act of racism. He thought he must have parked illegally.
“I didn’t understand it at first because it said ‘illegal’ on it, and I couldn’t put two and two together,” he said, explaining that his family has been born and raised in the United States for six generations.
His mother-in-law actually made him aware of the racist implications behind the vandalism.
“I never really felt like that before, like I don’t belong,” said Solis.
Following the incident, Solis said a shop painted over the offensive word at no charge, and he received a note on his door proclaiming, “We love you in our neighborhood.”
"The neighbors I used to wave to, I know their names. I'm shaking their hands. We're talking," Solis said. "It's good to see there's really good people in this world."
Local police have opened an investigation into the matter, but thus far there are no suspects or witnesses. However, a banner located within about two blocks of Solis’ home was also spray-painted with the word “illegal” as well as another car in the neighborhood owned by a man who identifies as white, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
This stunt falls in line with the uptick in hate crimes, speech, and vandalism the entire nation has seen since the election and subsequent inauguration of President Donald Trump, who ran his entire campaign on racist and xenophobic rhetoric.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Edward Kimmel