Man charged after hate-motivated graffiti found at Willow River Centre

A 38-year-old Kitchener man is facing charges in connection to what police call hate-motivated vandalism found at Willow River Centre in Kitchener.

The new queer and Indigenous-led centre said the graffiti happened last weekend, two weeks before it was set to open to the public.

Some of the messages, which were written in chalk, mentioned the two founders by name and referenced their Indigenous identity and homophobic tropes.

One message reads “embrace your Scottish heritage, Amy.” Another says Land Back Camp “took [money] from white guilt.”

Graffiti is seen scrawled on the Willow River Centre in Kitchener on Sept. 25, 2023. (Dave Pettitt/CTV Kitchener)

The man is facing the following charges:

  • Mischief to Religious Property under $5,000
  • Criminal Harassment
  •  Possession of Property Obtained by Crime under $5,000.

He is schedule to appear in court in October.

On Monday the co-directors told CTV News they’ve been targeted before.

“People have got to start standing up and speaking out. When we are not in the rooms, we need you to stand up for us,” co-director Bangishimo said. “These hate attacks are just going to keep escalating and we need our allies to stand beside us.”

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