Summerland community has been offering support after a home was plagued by racist graffiti

Racist graffiti victim speaks

Casey Richardson

Ramesh Lekhi and his wife were startled Monday evening after hearing a loud crash in their home. 

Lekhi thought something had just fallen over, but after venturing towards the location he found broken glass scattered across the floor.

“Then I called 911,” Lekhi said. “Police said don’t go outside, stay inside, keep safe.”

RCMP responded to what they are now calling a hate crime, and showed Lekhi the racist and foul graffiti covering his home — swastikas, phalluses and hurtful words sprayed in bright red on the exterior walls of his home. 

“Now every time I look [at it] I say, ‘Why would somebody do this to us?’” adding that every time he sees it, it gets harder to comprehend.

Lekhi, who is Indo-Canadian, says this act of racism is disgusting but he doesn’t believe it represents the whole town.

Since the incident took place, many in the community, members of council, the Summerland mayor and other officials have all visited Lekhi and his family, sharing in the shock and sorrow.

Toni Boot, the Summerland mayor, added in a public post on the district's Facebook page Wednesday afternoon that the council will be convening for a special meeting on Monday, July 20 to discuss this, along with other issues. 

Boot wrote, "How can we, as Summerland's elected leaders, create space to have community conversations on racism?" 

Offers to help clean up and paint the home have come flooding in for the family, but Lekhi is waiting until insurance can look over the damage. 

He hopes the town will learn from this incident and knows these actions only represent a small percentage of people who harbour hate. 

“Neighbours stay together and show unity,” Lekhi said. “Because this is just heaven for us living in this country.” 

If you have any information on the incident in Memorial Park or the house that was targeted, please contact the RCMP at 250-494-7416 or remaining completely anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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