STAMFORD — Several dozen Delaware County community members marched along Main Street on Friday in protest of racist graffiti discovered on a historic house on the outskirts of the village earlier in the week.
Demonstrators lined the sidewalk in front of the Stamford Village Hall, chanting “Black Lives Matter!” and “no justice, no peace!”
“We organized this because things like this just can’t keep happening in Stamford,” said rally co-organizer Mackenzie Tompkins, referencing prior instances of racist graffiti discovered on the basketball court and at Stewart’s that she said were “just covered up.”
Photos surfaced Monday of a noose spray-painted in blue on the side door of an abandoned residence known among locals as the “Eagle’s Nest.” The n-word was scrawled next to the door, and the words “leave now” were spray-painted on the transom.
The graffiti was painted over by Tuesday morning, but the incident remains under investigation by the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police.
“My grandmother is the one who found the graffiti and I took the pictures,” said Stamford resident Harib Bu-Ghaith. “I’m so grateful to all y’all. I didn’t think this would happen.”
Bu-Ghaith’s friend and rally co-organizer Lane Powley* published photos of the graffiti in a community Facebook group Monday. The post was deleted and the group archived — meaning no one can post, like, comment, or add new members — later that night.
“We’re here today because I think it’s important for people to know, even in these predominantly white communities, that we do not stand for that kind of racist talk and that it’s important for us to come out in a show of solidarity,” said Delancey resident Laurie McIntosh, adding that she was grateful for the people who “took immediate action” and turned the graffiti “into something beautiful.”
Delhi resident Christina Hunt Wood, co-founder of the Get Woke! film series, joined other members of the organization in placing in front of the formerly graffitied door a potted plant and a sign with a Black fist and a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “I have decided to stick to love … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Wood denounced comments made “in blind defense of our little ‘Queen of the Catskills’” in response to the graffiti, calling out in particular Mayor Bob Schneider’s claim that the graffiti does not “represent the views of the people of the village of Stamford.”
“I’m the sixth generation of my family to live in this area, but the first to do so in Black skin,” Wood said. “I promise you that these racist ideals, which are not always violently scrawled on abandoned buildings or basketball courts, are absolutely at the core of every single predominantly white community in this nation and in this state, and Stamford is not immune.”
Stamford resident Keyshawn Scott recalled being called the n-word while walking home “out of nowhere, for no reason at all.”
“They thought it was a joke,” he said.
“I’m a transgender man, and I’m here today because my rights won’t happen until Black people’s rights happen,” said Delhi resident Quinn Kelley-Logue. “They don’t mean me when they say ‘all lives matter.’”
Five state troopers arrived on scene after a confrontation between demonstrators and a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, with no face mask, became physical.
Sgt. Paul Carner said troopers were dispatched in response to a 911 call.
Although the confrontation had already been de-escalated by several other demonstrators by the time police arrived, troopers continued to observe the crowd from a distance “to make sure everything stays peaceful,” Carner said.
Stamford resident David Adams said he confronted the man, who refused to identify himself, after witnessing him yelling in the faces of children on a street corner.
“He was all up in these kids’ faces, and I’m not going to put up with that. You want to talk to a grown man, talk to me,” said Adams, who wasn’t aware of the demonstration beforehand. “His friend went and got six other friends and the cops.”
“My family is all different ethnicities,” said Adams, who is Black. “To put up with this (bull) is ridiculous.”
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.
*Changed at 11:25 a.m. July 11 to correct last name.