(FOX 2) - A landmark in Romeo went from being a symbol of hope to a symbol of hate after someone defaced a message of support for the Black Lives Matter Movement and left a racial slur in its place. But the community is coming out to show this is not what they stand for.
“I was actually very disappointed. I've been a member of this community for over 10 years and I think that it's important for all of us, not just African Americans, to support the black lives matter movement. We are here to embrace equality and promote change,” said Romeo resident Clareese Crigler.
“I want to say I'm glad it happened so people can see what's really going on out here in our community. I know a lot of people think not Romeo but it is here and this is an eye-opener,” Shalanda Woods, Local 400 civil and human rights representative.
Community activists say the trouble started on Saturday. Hours after Roxanne Cushingberry and her daughter painted Black Lives Matter, someone drew a line through their message and wrote All Lives Matter.
Activists changed the message back but woke up to a new message Monday morning painted on the rock: “F*** BLM N******.”
“It was very hurtful and for someone to do something like this. We don't understand who would do something like this because it's just a rock and it's us trying to explain ourselves to people that black lives -- all lives matter,” said Roxanne Cushingberry.
That was the final straw. Dozens demonstrated while the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office took a report. The Washington Township supervisor calls the racist message deeply hurtful and says it doesn’t reflect their community. Meanwhile, people have their own message for who is responsible.
“To not be immature about this. Again, take a step back and look at it from a different perspective. We are all fighting for unity. I don’t think violence is the answer,” Crigler said.
“We are asking people to stand up with us and fight with us. We don't want your pity, we don’t want you to feel sorry - we want you to fight with us. Know what's going on. Enough is enough -- we've had enough,” Woods said.
A march will take place near the rock on Friday denouncing racism.