Perinton church leader speaks out against racist graffiti on church sign

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The search continues for two suspects who, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says, are responsible for spray painting racist graffiti at a Perinton Apartment complex, and at a nearby church. Police noticed the hateful graffiti early Saturday morning as they were next door to the church, dealing with a house that was allegedly set on fire.

News10NBC talked to the church’s leader, and a local organization working to eliminate hate.

“Well, I’m upset that our young people can’t find better ways to occupy themselves, and they hold these attitudes,” said Rev. Mickey McGrath.

He is speaking out after racist graffiti was spray-painted on the sign of his church on Mason Road over the weekend. He was told by a sheriff’s deputy as they dealt with a separate incident at the home next door to the church.

“They further told me that the sign for the Church of the Resurrection had been vandalized with the “N-word on one side, and a swastika spray-painted on the other side,” said McGrath.

Early Friday morning hateful graffiti was also found on cars, and a garage door at the Creekstone Apartment complex, on Crossing Creek Drive. The suspects took off before deputies arrived. It’s believed that they are responsible for vandalizing the church.

“I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re just young, and need to be schooled and educated, and informed in a better way as to how to carry on their lives, and how to change their attitudes about people, and about the property of others as well,” said McGrath.

It’s the latest act of hate in our community. Just last week Brighton Police arrested 53-year-old William Putnam for a separate incident. He’s accused of making threats against the Islamic Center of Rochester.

Karen Elam, Executive Director of the Levine Center to End Hate at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, says extremism is on the rise.

“We’re seeing more young people, and often time’s young white males predominately being really what I would call radicalized through social media, and taking up tropes, and taking up language that is blatantly hateful,” said Elam.

She goes on to say that education is the key.

“That’s really our purpose with the Levine Center to End Hate is to do the kind of education that we need to do, so that people come to see each other as people, as opposed to sort of entities that they can hate,” said Elam.

NEWS10NBC reached out to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to see if they will release surveillance video of the two suspects. So far we’re still waiting for an answer.