A real estate agent in North Carolina has spoken up after finding her business sign defaced with a racial slur over the weekend.
Zhengzheng Wiley, who is Chinese American, believes that she was targeted due to COVID-19 — an experience shared by thousands of people of Asian descent since the onset of the pandemic.
The sign, which shows her website and contact number, is located along Lancaster Highway, just outside of Pineville in Mecklenburg County.
It’s unclear what exactly the spray-painted racial slur was, but it reportedly targeted “someone of Chinese descent.”
This is a photo of the real estate agent’s sign defaced with the ethnic slur, after we blurred some of it. Zheng Zheng Wiley said “I wouldn’t doubt this might be related to #COVID19 “ @wcnc pic.twitter.com/VLT5pGrKqV
— Alex Shabad (@AlexShabadWCNC) November 17, 2020
A community member first reported the vandalism to the police. They then reached out to Wiley.
“I got a call from a police officer,” Wiley told WCNC. “I had like a very sick feeling inside, like my inner voice told me ‘Oh my gosh, I need to go take it down.'”
The real estate agent, who was born in Liaoning, China recalled her sign being vandalized in the past, but the latest incident has been the worst so far.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell slammed the incident as a “racist hate graffiti” and urged the public to stand up against similar occurrences.
The sign has since been cleaned by a client of Wiley. She shared the photo they had taken in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“Here is my sign after being cleaned! My client cleaned it and took this unbelievably amazing picture for me. I love how the sunlight shines on my sign. It looks so happy and bright,” Wiley wrote.
The real estate agent declined to file a police report after an officer told her that an arrest would be difficult since there are no surveillance videos or images of a suspect.
However, Wiley reportedly received donations over the incident, which she now plans to donate to charity.