Community members rally after El Centro Hispano had brick thrown through back door

el_centro

Damage was reported at El Centro in Carrboro after a brick was thrown through a door. 

The incident was first reported at 6:57 a.m. and is listed as an injury to real property, said Capt. Chris Atack, spokesperson for the Carrboro Police Department.

“There was nothing taken from the building and there was no note or other information to give us some idea of what someone was thinking when they threw it through the door,” Atack said. “We don’t know motivations at this point.”

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, CEO and president of El Centro Hispano, said the event raised new questions about safety.

“We don’t really know what motivated the person who did it, but of course for everyone it was shocking to find out,” she said.

The incident was discovered as the center was preparing to host an ID drive for members of the community. The event was held as planned.

Tizzy Giordano, a Carrboro resident, was on her way back from an anti-KKK march held in Danville, Virginia, on Saturday when she heard about the incident. Giordano said she was moved to create a post on Pantsuit Nation, a private Facebook group intended to serve as a platform for storytelling and social justice.

Giordano’s post described the El Centro incident as a hate crime, and she created a GoFundMe page to raise money to support the nonprofit. Within 10 minutes, the post had 11,000 likes and in 24 hours, the GoFundMe page had raised over $6,000.

“Thousands of people were commenting and saying the most beautiful things,” Giordano said. “I knew that social media was really instrumental, but I don’t think I realized until right now how impactful social media can really be.”

Messages of support have poured in from across the nation with comments on Giordano’s Facebook post from as far as Ireland. Yet Giordano said she still hopes to see similar levels of support from the local community.

“…I know a lot of people in the community, so I’ve been putting the word out and having people share the GoFundMe link and we’ve started getting local responses,” Giordano said. “It’s really important to me that the money gets matched by our community.”

Specific details are still being discussed as to the best use of the donations raised by the GoFundMe page. Rocha-Goldberg said that greater security measures and additional resources for many of their works are possibilities.

Judith Montenegro, the board chairperson of El Centro Hispano, said she has been moved by the support.

“Everything has happened so suddenly and we’re still trying to figure everything out,” Montenegro said. “We’ve received flowers, donations – it’s just been really, really great how the community has come together to support us and make us feel welcome.”

Lydia Lavelle, mayor of Carrboro, has reached out to El Centro Hispano, and discussions will be held to help make Carrboro a safe space for people of all backgrounds, Montenegro said.

Giordano said she is grateful for the welcoming, accepting community Carrboro offers, but she is heartbroken that it is not a safe space for everyone.

“It’s meant the world to me to have this little corner of the world where I feel protected from the hate,” Giordano said. “It’s really, really necessary for us to fight back against this kind of hatred and bigotry.”

Atack asked that anyone with information about the incident reach out to law enforcement.

To help support El Centro Hispano, visit https://www.gofundme.com/standwithelcentro.

@molly_horak

city@dailytarheel.com

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