STOCKTON (CBS13) – Stockton police are still looking for the person responsible for defacing a popular community center where culture, history, and heritage is celebrated.
The Manila Center in downtown Stockton was vandalized with racial words painted on its storefront and banners destroyed. Leaders with the Little Manila Foundation in Stockton are still trying to figure out why someone would deface the images proudly displayed on the center’s storefront.
“Something like you’re the bigot, you’re the brainwash bigot, that’s what it says, and so, I don’t know exactly what it means, but there are definitely racial undertones using the words bigot and whitey,” said Dillon Delvo, executive director of Little Manila Foundation.
Racially charged words were painted on the center’s window and the historic photographs that included the words community, culture and history were torn apart.
“The kids were disturbed, sad, angry,” he said.
According to police, no other storefronts near the center were vandalized and it appears this may have been an isolated incident.
“There have not been any arrest in the case, but the case is still an active and open investigation,” said Rosie Calderon, Stockton Police Department.
The center opened three years ago as a way to educate others and celebrate the area’s Filipino heritage and its contribution to the community. Community leaders say the words used to vandalize the building during the start of Filipino American History month make it a hate crime.
“We do have suspect information. The suspect is described as a white female, homeless type, who was seen near the area,” said Calderon.
The group’s executive director says discrimination against Filipino Americans is nothing new. They have decided to keep the vandalism on display because so much of it has been part of their rich history.
“We still have a ways to progress as a people, and it’s something our communities should definitely be very wary of and work towards,” said Delvo.
Volunteers are working to raise money to replace the estimated $1,200 worth of damage done to the center storefront.