GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Near the conclusion of Alpha Phi Alpha’s statewide convention at the Sheraton and Koury Convention Center, the members noticed racist graffiti painted in the bathroom stalls.
“The district conference is held for the Association of North Carolina Alpha Men. It’s our state convention. Following that, we go to regionals and then nationals. Basically it is a time in the state of North Carolina to come together, get caught up on the latest business and also talk about or latest community service projects,” said Vice President Anjan Basu, of the Greensboro Kappa Lambda Chapter.
The six-letter word was surrounded by a swastika and the letters KKK.
“The main bathroom for that section of the convention center was between where we were having our business meeting and the bar and that’s where we found the graffiti," Basu said. “Within 20 minutes of us letting them know, they had already removed the graffiti. They apologized for it, they were shocked, the gernaral manager was involved. I believe the Sheraton and the Koury Convention Center's response was accurate and on the nose.”
Following the Nov. 9 election, the Southern Poverty Law Center has received 435 reports of hate speech and harassment nationwide.
An SPLC representative said, “Nationally, we’ve counted around 60 including swastika graffiti. Incidents include anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-women and swastikas. Please note that not all of these incidents have been independently verified by the SPLC.”
Heidi Beirich, director of SPLC’s Intelligence Project, sent the following statement in response:
“Since Donald Trump won the election we’ve seen an alarming number of hate-based incidents occur throughout the nation, some of which are no doubt stemming from Trump’s hate-filled campaign. We’ve collected more than 435 such incidents since the election -- truly a frightening number."
Basu plans to personally file a report with SPLC.
“There’s a lot of shock, there’s a lot of anger. I think a lot of the brothers are trying to formulate the best response politically possible but to only keep this is the political realm as far as our response is to deny a certain amount of human emotion that naturally accompanies insults of this nature,” Basu said. “I’ve been in North Carolina my whole life and I realize that racial tension has been here for a very long time. I feel like the Trump candidacy has emboldened certain sentiments of our society and I feel like the graffiti we saw is indicative of that sentinment.”