Intruders reportedly broke into an LGBTQ support center and hung a noose from the ceiling on Sunday in an apparent attempt of intimidation.
The Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), located in Providence, Rhode Island, runs a space for LGBTQ youth of color called “Queer & Trans Thursdays”. Aside from the hung noose, two knives were found stabbed into a table, stacked chairs atop each other, and rearranged the scissors and rulers in the room.
According to the group’s official statement released to NextShark, apart from the vandalism, the place was left “relatively clean, there was no mess and no papers were strewn about. We swept both rooms and did not notice anything missing or taken.”
The group also pointed out the significance of the noose’s symbolism:
“The noose, as a symbol of lynching and a tool of white supremacist terror, is a threat to Black lives and cannot be ignored. Its presence in our sacred space means we must fight back by recommitting ourselves to the movement for Black lives in Providence, the United States, and globally.”
PrYSM decided not to report the incident to the local police and instead chose to register the intrusion with the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate crime.
In an emotional post, PrYSM executive director Sarath Suong, also wrote about the incident on Facebook, stating, “maybe it was a prank, but IT IS NOT funny.”
“I don’t think it’s a joke,” Suong added. “I think we were sent a CLEAR message. But here’s our message back: F*CK YOU.”
“You will not intimidate us, you will not steer us away from our mission, you will never dampen our spirit,” Suong wrote. “You have only motivated us even more. We will continue to fight for justice and defend our community, our families, and our people.”
PrYSM’s website states that they provide a safe haven for Southeast Asian queer youth so they can “organize collectively for social justice,” and “ advocate for ourselves, support our communities, organize for political empowerment, and build community.”
“PrYSM organizes at the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation by centering youth, women, queer, and people of color leadership in our campaigns, our organization, and our communities,” the group’s website states.
Many Facebook users have commented, showing their support and wishing the group well after the break-in.