Lafayette Home Vandalized With Swastika and ‘Trump’

Emma Leibowitz, Opinion Editor

The St. Stephen’s Orinda overpass to Highway 24 and a Lafayette home were vandalized Oct. 27. Both vandalizations consisted of a swastika symbol spray-painted on the walls along with “Trump” written underneath. 

“When I first heard about the vandalism, my heart sank, but honestly I wasn’t as shocked as I should have been because I’m so accustomed to stuff like this happening,” senior Haley Moltyaner said. Following the vandalizations, Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) principals Travis Bell of Acalanes High School, John Walker of Campolindo High School, Julie Parks of Miramonte High School, and Tiffany Benson of Las Lomas High School sent a joint email to parents of students in the district addressing the vandalizations. “Symbolizing hate, anti-Semitism, and genocide, this symbol has no place in our community,” the email said. “As the Principals of Acalanes, Campolindo, Miramonte and Las Lomas, we collectively call on all in our community to stand in solidarity against acts of hate and discrimination.” The email also referenced the schools’ addressing of racial equity and discrimination during cohort academy sessions for students. 

The overpass to Highway 24 has recently been a location for frequent demonstrations in support of President Donald Trump preceding the Nov. 3 election. According to Fox 2 KTVU News, the targeted Lafayette home featured a flag supporting then-presidential candidate and now President-elect Joseph Biden in the front yard. CBS Bay Area states that the Lafayette police have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to research the crime.

Many students voiced their concern or disappointment about this type of vandalization which is fairly infrequent in the Lamorinda community. According to the Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2019 curated by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-Semitic acts increased in 2019 across the United States with 2,107 documented incidents. The ADL reports this is a 12 percent increase from 2018 and an all-time high since the organization began tracking anti-Semitic occurrences in 1978. Of these 2,107 cases, 919 involved vandalism similar to the graffiti in Lafayette. “Anti-Semitism is a topic that isn’t well discussed considering how prevalent it is in our community. I personally have witnessed and been the recipient of acts of anti-Semitism over my four years at Miramonte. The school board did nothing except send an email about this. I hope that they are planning to incorporate it into our curriculum at the very least,” Moltyaner said.

Some students hope that anti-Semitism will be addressed more during cohort academies and that actions are taken to prevent further discriminatory actions from happening. “I was really upset about the vandalization, and honestly really embarrassed that somebody in our community had the audacity to do something so disrespectful. I think it is important to nip this in the bud by providing resources and helping educate people,” junior Bridget Meagher said.