LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville family whose home was tagged with racist graffiti is learning just how much their community cares.
During a rally in the Lake Forest subdivision Wednesday, neighbors showed their support for Michela and Connie Pineda. The Pineda’s have five children; the oldest two are half Black and half Filipino.
“It means a lot to us and it means a lot to the kids that this [racism] is not supported by people here and that everyone is coming to support them,” Michela said. “We do really appreciate this and it means more to us than anybody could understand right now.”
The message “Lake Forest Stands With You” is now written in chalk in front of the Pineda’s home. Those positive words replace the racial slurs and swastikas that were spray-painted on their driveway three different times in June.
The Pineda’s neighbor, Suzanne Craft, is charged with criminal mischief and harassment. She was arrested Wednesday by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office after she failed to appear in court on those charges. According to the Pineda family’s lawyer Vanessa Cantley, Craft is under house arrest and will appear in court on July 27 for a pre-trial.
Lake Forest residents like Sandy Smalley tell WAVE 3 News that Craft’s alleged actions were “ugly.”
“I saw it on Facebook and I was mortified that someone in our neighborhood would be targeted with a hate crime,” she said.
On Wednesday, Smalley and other neighbors joined Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) in calling for the Lake Forest Community Association to denounce racism and bigotry. In a lawsuit filed by the Pinedas, the couple claims the HOA failed to protect their family from harassment and property damage.
After speaking to the HOA, Lake Forest resident Erin Rowland claims the organization did not want the reputation of the community impacted by Craft’s actions.
“They wanted to wash their hands of it, they didn’t want to get their hands dirty,” she said. “I was just astounded, I was so embarrassed. Who cares, our neighborhood has a reputation. What is it for, being racist?”
Neighbors like Rowland plan to lobby Kentucky’s legislature for the creation of hate crime law which the state does not currently have.