Hamilton

Black family in Brantford targeted after hate speech spray painted behind home

A Black family in Brantford, Ont., feels targeted after seeing hate speech spray painted behind their house on Friday.

The neighbours on Powell Street in West Brant came together to remove the racist graffiti

The hate speech and profanities spanned the portion of fencing behind the Binns' home. CBC has blurred the offending words. (Submitted by Shantel Binns)

A Black family in Brantford, Ont., feels targeted after seeing hate speech spray painted behind their house on Friday.

Shantel Binns told CBC News she was exercising that morning in her home on Powell Street in the West Brant neighbourhood when her mother frantically burst into the room.

"She was asking me if I had seen the backyard, she was asking me if I knew who wrote it. I initially didn't know what my mom was talking about."

Binns stopped her workout and walked into her mother's bedroom. When she looked out the window, she saw racial slurs spray-painted onto a fence behind their backyard, facing their home.

The Binns family is one of the only Black families on the street.

Shantel Binns, 20, said this is the first time her family has been targeted with hate speech so close to home. (Submitted by Shantel Binns)

"It was so hard to miss from our window," she said. "It was directed to us."

Binns eventually took pictures and video before reporting it to local police. Brantford Police Service is actively investigating the incident.

The hate crime follows Black Lives Matter protests that have swept across Canada and America. The demonstrations call for lawmakers to create policies that fight systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd's murder.

Binns doesn't think the timing of the vandalism is a coincidence.

"If [a protest] wasn't happening, I promise you, it wouldn't be here ... it wouldn't be so bold in a community where there are kids and our community is so diverse."

Neighbours remove graffiti together

Mykayla Wilson, Binns' friend, posted the video to Facebook, which now has 6,000 views. It led to support from the Brantford community, with many offering ways to help.

"I hope something does come out of it, it's not right to see this happen around our community," Wilson said.

Binns' neighbours also visited, offering apologies, empathy and determination to help remove the hate speech immediately.

Shantel Binns was happy to see her neighbours be so willing to help her remove the hate speech. (Submitted by Shantel Binns)

It took power washing, sprays and deep scrubbing, but eventually, they erased the slurs. 

"It came as a shock to the whole community ... this happened so close to home and it doesn't just affect me and my family, it affects everyone."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Hristova

Reporter/Editor

Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca

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