A group of vandals was captured on video spray painting a slogan linked to a white supremacist group onto the storefront of the Hmong Cultural Center Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota.
‘Whitewashing’: Mark Pfeifer, program director of the cultural center, discovered the vandalism when he came to work on Wednesday morning, according to Twin Cities. He then informed his colleagues through a message that their storefront was “whitewashed” with a “possible white supremacist message.”
Our new museum sign went up this weekend! pic.twitter.com/OHuzif6cYw
— HmongCulturalCenter (@hcc1992) September 7, 2021
- “The lock to the museum is welded shut due to all the paint,” Pfeifer said. “We can’t even get in there today and probably will not until we can get a locksmith to come over.”
- A surveillance video from a tattoo parlor near the Hmong Cultural Center Museum showed three people vandalizing the storefront on Wednesday at around 3:45 a.m. They were all seen wearing black clothes and masks, with one of the vandals appearing to have light-colored skin.
CAIR-MN issued statement regarding the vandalism:
“Anti-Asian hate is on the rise and this latest attack targeting the Hmong Museum should be condemned in the strongest terms. https://t.co/YTYyphXL4q
— Jaylani (@Jaylanihussein) September 9, 2021
- The message on the cultural center was , “Life, Liberty, Victory,” which is connected to a white supremacist group known as Patriot Front. The vandals reportedly painted over poetic verses on the plywoods installed during the riots in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd.
- Vandals also targeted May’s Market, a business beside the cultural center, KSTP reported. No arrests have been made so far.
- The total damage on the building is estimated to be around $1,000, including the new signboard they just put up, which cost $700, FOX9 reported.
- “We just had our new sign installed this weekend and we were so excited about our formal launch,” Pfeifer said. “I’m kind of depressed about the whole situation. It shows there’s those sentiments out there in the community. We’re just going to have to get those boards off of there and possibly get a new sign.”
The center just opened: The incident occurred only days after the Hmong Cultural Center Museum greeted their first visitors. They welcomed 70 first-year students from Macalester College on Aug. 30 and the media on Sept. 7 to the museum.
70 Macalester College freshmen visited the Hmong Cultural Center Museum to learn about Hmong culture and history on August 30, 2021 as part of their orientation to St. Paul and the Twin Cities! pic.twitter.com/DVnmYxURaJ
— HmongCulturalCenter (@hcc1992) August 30, 2021
- “We are very disappointed by this turn of events but we think it shows the strong ongoing need for the work of our center and our museum to promote goodwill and cultural understanding at least to those open to these things,” Pfeifer said. “The inside is beautiful. I don’t want that to get lost in this whole thing.”
Condemnation: Many people took to social media to condemn the vandalism on the museum, while organizations issued statements to stand with the Hmong Cultural Center Museum following the crime.
Give thanks.✊🏾🖤 also sending love to the artists who labored to place this piece, the other creatives whose work surrounds this piece and the adjacent businesses. This was a heinous act.
— Tish Jones (@TheTishJones) September 9, 2021
This is not acceptable. Vandalization of the Hmong Culture Center and Museum is deeply concerning and should be condemned. We need to support our #AAPI communities and stand against #hate. @taaforg @ADL https://t.co/x1luTyj2nB
— Sonal Shah (@SonalRShah) September 9, 2021
Our local Hmong cultural center was vandalized by a fascist white supremacy group. They were so excited about their new anti-racism poetry and immediately recieved a racist response😭https://t.co/TA5cZXyoHz
— GabbyRainn Ast. Regional Mngr Antifa TittyDivision (@Gabrielle_Rainn) September 9, 2021
- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement calling on the local government to stand against anti-Asian hate crime and condemn the vandalism on the museum.
- “Anti-Asian hate is on the rise and this latest attack targeting the Hmong Museum should be condemned in the strongest terms,” the statement read. “We call on local, state and national law enforcement authorities to treat this incident as a hate crime and for elected officials to condemn it and work to pass hate crime legislation that has been outlined by many civil rights organizations.”
- Other organizations, such as the Minnesota House DFL, TakeAction Minnesota and the American Jewish Committee, have also issued statements online to show support.
— Minnesota House DFL (@mnhouseDFL) September 9, 2021
We are sickened by the white nationalist vandalism of the Hmong Cultural Center. This is a hate crime. We must do all we can to stop anti-Asian violence + support our Hmong community. Donate to support the museum in the wake of this hate crime: https://t.co/f3Qb1pm5XD
— TakeAction Minnesota (@TakeActionMN) September 9, 2021
AJC stands with the Hmong Cultural Center and Museum, which was vandalized with a white supremacist slogan shortly after opening its doors.
There is no room for this hateful rhetoric anywhere.https://t.co/jJIlkQxD9T
— American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) September 9, 2021
The museum is currently accepting donations at https://www.hmongcc.org/donate.html
Featured Image via Hmong Cultural Center of Minnesota