LATINO VOICES

San Diego Museum Exhibit Defaced With Anti-Immigrant Messages

The New Americans Museum highlights immigrant contributions to the U.S.

11/29/2016 05:21 pm ET

Two anti-immigrant messages were found written on exhibition signs on Saturday at the New Americans Museum in San Diego. 

“Too much immigration! Go back to your country. This one is ours!” is just one of the egregious sentiments found written on a sign at the museum, which highlights and celebrates the contributions of immigrants in the United States. 

Linda Caballero-Sotello, the museum’s executive director, posted a response on her personal Facebook on Saturday to denounce the vandalism. 

In the video post, Caballero-Sotello described “the unfortunate incident,” saying that exhibition signs had been “defaced” with anti-immigrant messages. She also posted a photo of one of the messages. 

“We will not be discouraged, we’re certainly better than that as a nation,” Caballero-Sotello said in the video. “But at the same time it’s disheartening to see that a cultural space that talks about the contributions of immigrants can be so threatening to those that now feel empowered and emboldened to speak very negative and very divisive messages.”

The New Americans Museum Facebook page also posted photos of the vandalism on Saturday. 

The museum is treating the incident as a hate crime, according to a second video Caballero-Sotello posted on Monday. She reported the vandalism to local police, who are investigating, and the FBI. 

There’s been a spike in hate crimes across the United States in recent weeks, with marginalized communities a target of slander, hate speech and physical violence. A survey by the Southern Poverty Law Center found there had been more than 200 acts of election-related harassment in thee three days after Election Day alone.

Despite taking the incident “very seriously,” Caballero-Sotello said the museum’s core mission would not be undermined by hateful messages. 

“We feel that they feel emboldened to make those comments, especially in public spaces,” she told Univision. “[This] won’t stop us, in fact it will motivate us even more.”  

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