MIFFLINBURG, UNION COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Union County residents are calling for action after hateful and anti-Black messages were found spray-painted on roads and street signs.
Hateful messages and swastikas were found last week on at least two Mifflinburg roads and a handful of street signs in Union County. Now, some community members are saying a larger conversation needs to be had.
“We have to have that conversation, and we’re going to have that conversation. It’s just a matter of whether or not our elected officials, our people who are holding council offices, our local community, is willing to listen,” Matthew Nolder, a Milton resident told Eyewitness News.
A message spray painted on Tower Road in Mifflinburg, criticized the Black Lives Matter movement above the words “white power”.
Nolder was the first to find the messages, saying while the graffiti has been painted over, the root cause of the messaging cannot be.
“A covering up of this problem is not going to make this problem go away. The problem is deeper. Accountability, legislative changes, having the right people in positions of power to say, ‘this community is not going to accept this type of behavior’,” Nolder said.
In Buffalo Township, street signs displaying swastikas while another was defaced with a profane drawing and the “n-word”.
Now, Nolder and his son are among area residents seeking to give voice to those long-festering frustrations, starting with an NAACP open mic in Williamsport Saturday, and an anti-hate protest in Milton on Sunday.
“I find it very important. And if I get the opportunity to speak up, I do,” Mekhi Nolder, a Milton resident, said.
Education and awareness to help bring change for future generations.
“I don’t think it’s going to change by the time I’m an adult. I think it’s gonna be the same exact way. And I’m gonna fight for change until I can’t anymore, but I’m mainly hopeful that it’s gonna be the generation after me,” Mekhi said.
Eyewitness News reached out to Pennsylvania State Police, who opened an investigation into the graffiti last week — in part, to determine if this chain of graffiti was all connected. Their report has been passed along to the state’s heritage affairs office but so far, no apparent leads.