Councilwoman Suzie Price.

Suzie PriceLong Beach Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price this week denounced a hateful message spray painted on a banner that hung outside of the Belmont Heights United Methodist Church.

Authorities said the word “illegal” was discovered on a banner advertising Make A Difference Day on Sunday, February 26.

This is a note I hoped I would never have to write,” Price said in an email sent to community members Wednesday. “Throughout the country we are seeing acts of hatred being carried out against our places of worship, at our schools, and around our communities.”

Price went on to say that the inclusiveness of the community and support for people from all walks of life led her to believe the neighborhood “had progressed beyond such intolerable acts of hatred” but said that these singular incidences were not indicative of an altered identity of the city.

“I do not believe that our city is spiraling into hatred; on the contrary, my optimism allows me to see that our city will push beyond these acts and hold steadfast to our core values,” Price said.

The councilwoman pointed to the historical relevance of places of worship as safe spaces for families and denounced any act of hatred “that aims to deprive my residents of these safe spaces,” encouraging community members to join her in supporting individuals who work hard to contribute to the community.

According to Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) spokeswoman Nancy Pratt, another act of vandalism was reported the same day, a few blocks away from the church.

According to a preliminary investigation, an unknown suspect spray painted an unoccupied vehicle on the 300 block of Euclid Avenue.

The motive for those incidents has not yet been determined and remains under investigation.

Pratt said that yesterday the LBPD’s Violent Crimes Detail learned of three more possibly related incidents, however, the potential victims have not reported the incidents and detectives are attempting to track down more information.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Violent Crimes detectives at (562) 570-7250.

Above, left photo of Councilwoman Suzie Price courtesy of City of Long Beach.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.