Billings, Montana (PressExposure) June 15, 2008 -- While there still have been no arrests in the case, the Billings Community will not condone hate crimes and is banding together to clean up the damage left behind from the vandals.
Authorities have classified the attack as a hate crime and the community is banning together to show support for these businesses and to let owners and their families know that Billings is a community of love. They are welcome here and supported.
"I wanted to show support of my friend Eva Sigsworth owner of Mamacitas Cafe and all of the victims, so I asked the Billings Community to join me in combating these hate crimes, because hate crimes against any individual in Billings is a hate crime against us all," Brenda Segna of BLaST Creative and Community Cleanup Organizer said.
Business owners of the four targeted restaurants echoed Segna's belief, saying they had been singled out and that they are overwhelmed and thankful that the community is banning together to help them.
"This was not the work of ordinary vandals, but of people who want to be hateful and who tried to hurt us because we are minorities," said an employee of Golden Phoenix who did not want her name used for fear of retaliation.
"We as a community cannot forget that we should be appalled that such crimes are taking place. I'm just glad that we could reach out and try to help the victims as well as the police in such cases of hate, Together we can build bridges of social cohesion in our community, embracing and promoting feelings of respect, understanding, peace and goodwill." Segna said.
Today's a new day and while the victims' of these hate crimes may still feel hurt and angry or sad, today is the day we take those feelings and turn them into action. Sunday, June 15th, 2008 is the day that we, as a community, make the decision to change the hearts and minds of those who choose to hate. WE working together can create the community that we want.
This can be done and we can do this, starting here, right now moving forward from today...We can make this the Billings that WE want it to BE.
The police do have a few suspects that they're looking at and they're interviewing other people and following up on tips and leads that the community has supplied them with, they are working aggressively to make an arrest in this case.
People who would like to volunteer can call Segna at 406-651-1990 or just show up at Mamacitas CafÃ©, 1404 6th Ave North at 9 a.m. on June 15th, it's Sunday morning and father's day, but Segna is anticipating that with the number of volunteers it should only take a few hours. So come out and show your community support, Billings is a community of LOVE!
Local Businesses who have donated supplies include:
BLaST Creative Billings Clinic St. Vincent's Hospital Home Depot Billings Hardware Paint-All Target Wal-Mart Poly Food Basket Replica Business Solutions 106.7 The Planet