'It really disturbed me,' says Wolseley resident after hate crime targets neighbourhood

Roughly 50 people gathered today in the Wolseley School grounds on Sunday to bring the community together in support those who have been recently targeted by hate crimes.

50 people showed up in vigil to support family

Dozens of people gathered at Wolseley School Sunday afternoon to stand up against a hate crime in the neighbourhood. (Courtney Rutherford/CBC)

Roughly 50 people gathered in the Wolseley School grounds on Sunday to bring the community together in support of a neighbourhood family recently targeted by a hate crime.

On New Year's Eve, a family arrived at their home in Wolseley to find a gift bag that had been left on their front doorstep. When they opened it up, inside was a large rock that was covered in anti-Semitic messages.

"Jude bitch get out of the nighberhood" was written on a ribbon that was tied around the rock.
A family arrived at their home in the Wolseley neighbourhood to find a red gift bag with this rock inside. (Submitted)

"It really disturbed me at the time when I heard it. I thought how that person must be feeling," said Wolseley resident Sally Papso. 

Papso organized Sunday's vigil to show support for the family who was targeted. She also wants the person who dropped off the rock to know that the community doesn't accept this kind of behaviour.

"I just want to make sure the message gets out. It's not OK. We reach out to these people who might be hurting and welcome them to come and start dialogue," said Papso.

'Counter the trend'

Marianne Cerilli has lived in Wolseley for the past 16 years. Cerilli also lives on the same street as the family who were victims of the hate crime. While the family was unable to attend the vigil today, she said they still feel the support from the community. 

"There really is a sense that we have to counter the trend that seems to be prevalent right now," said Cerilli. "People feel more permission to say and do things that are hostile to other people."

Cerilli believes it's time to respond as individuals, a community and as a society as a whole.

"We have to look at laws, policy and systems and how all these different attitudes get institutionalized," said Cerilli. "That's the real challenge. How people end up developing these attitudes."

Cerilli says she was surprised by the number of people who showed up at the vigil. She believes it's another sign that people want to be active, work on these issues and respond as a neighbourhood.