A local family-owned Hmong store in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was targeted by vandals who painted an allegedly racist message on their van about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The graffiti on their van was discovered one morning by the owners of Main Oriental Market, according to WBAY. They initially thought the graffiti was the work of some children with too much time on their hands and that it wasn’t meant to be racist.
“It was in the morning time, and we noticed that someone graffitied on our cars,” Tara Yang, a manager of the store, said. “We didn’t think that it was meant to be racist. We didn’t know what it said or what the picture was.”
However, their customers quickly recognized the word “COVA” painted in black on the white van. They interpreted it as something related to the COVID-19 pandemic and a racist attack against the business owned by Yang’s parents.
“This is honestly really sad,” Yang said. “It’s sad because this is such a devastating time in our economy and in our community that I am sad to see someone would bring such negativity to our community at this time.”
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Yang pleaded with her friends and neighbors to “quit fighting each other and start actually contributing to society in a helpful way.”
Her post made its way to Drew Clark, who had the necessary tools and equipment to remove the graffiti from the family’s van.
“We reached out to tara and with drew’s background working in a auto body shop and having this time off, he knew right away what supplies and tools he needed and drove over first thing this morning to clean the mess up so tara and her family wouldn’t have to see the vandalism anymore,” Christine Clark wrote in her Facebook post.
Christine also mentioned that this isn’t the first time the store was targeted by harassment.
“We probably won’t be able to find them, but I do have one message for them, whoever this person or these people are,” Yang said. “Although the Asian community only makes up four- to five-percent of Green Bay’s population, I want them to know we are here, and we stand strong. We’re not going to be scared from this little crime.”
Feature Image Screenshot via WBAY