Hate symbols spray painted on Appleton sidewalk

Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) - Hate speech was found spray-painted on a new construction site along the Fox River in Appeton. It was recently discovered on new concrete at a Marriott Courtyard hotel that's set to open later this month.

The private concrete path connects the hotel to a riverfront walking and biking trail, and the discovery had a group taking swift action Monday to cover up the racist message, in an effort to show Appleton is about love not hate.  

"There were between 25 and 30 people that showed up within about an hour and a half," said Cheri Bricco from Hortonville, who took photos of the graffiti showing a swastika, an illuminati symbol and other designs, and posted them to Facebook.  A group then rallied together to make a change.

They decided to use sidewalk chalk, not to deface the property, but to cover up hate symbols with messages of love, inclusion and kindness.

"It's a threat to certain people and we felt really sad and angry that these symbols would be in our community, and that people would not feel safe on the trail," said Bricco.

Because the area where the graffiti was is private property, police we're called on the chalk artists on Monday who dispersed peacefully.
 
"We saw the sidewalk chalk and we thought that was kind of cool, like wow, there's kids down here spreading the message of positivity," said Jack Rathsack from Hortonville, who was walking on the path with his mother that afternoon.
 
The both had a sense of surprise when they found out what was written under the powdery words of the chalk.
 
"Personally, I think it's disgusting," said Rathsack. "There's enough hate in this world, we need to stop spreading it, and things like that are just completely unnecessary."
 
The hotel and Appleton Police Department have been notified of the vandalism.  According to a city ordinance, after receiving a letter of notification of graffiti in the mail, the property owner, despite being the victim, has 72 hours to remove it.
 
While some agree with the chalk, Bricco says she hopes businesses and citizens take more responsibility removing graffiti like this before a chalk overlay becomes necessary.
 
Bricco tells Local 5, police told them the symbols weren't removed right away for fear of the same thing happening again.  
 
She hopes the graffiti will be removed by the end of this week.

 


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