The facade of the Little Manila Center, a historical site of the Filipino-American community in Stockton, California was found to have been vandalized early this week.
"It is with a heavy heart to tell you that on Monday, someone defaced our windows and ripped our historic photographs that bore the words: Community, Culture, Empowerment, Arts, History, and Heritage," the Little Manila Foundation said in a statement posted on their social media account.
"The first people to find our center in the condition it was in were our youth dance students who stood heartbroken in front of our center."
The group said the vandals destroyed the vinyl artwork of the building, which was "designed by Joseph Racca and manufactured and installed by Eddie Avelar of Bahala Na Martial Arts in Houston and Frank Mendoza of Bahala Na Martial Arts in Stockton."
Also written on the building facade were the words "White Property" and "Brainwashed bigots."
The Foundation points to racial discrimination as the motive behind the incident. Although they did say in their statement if they suspect a particular group or individual as responsible for the incident.
"As we celebrate Filipino American History Month this October, we know that discrimination against Filipino Americans is nothing new," the group said.
"People of color were not welcomed north of Main St. and signs saying “Positively no Filipinos allowed” were displayed openly. It was illegal for Filipino men to marry white women in California," they said.
Meanwhile, Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs said on his Twitter account that he was coordinating with the police to act on the incident on Monday.
Unacceptable. Talking to police chief. Someone will be out https://t.co/zW9OXkO4Zy— Michael Tubbs (@MichaelDTubbs) October 10, 2017
In addition, the Foundation said the incident is a reminder of the objective of its work in the area.
"Through the Little Manila After School Program and Us History program we teach ethnic studies to high schoolers. Our advocacy helped Stockton Unified School District to adopt Ethnic Studies at our high schools just this year. Our Little Manila Dance Collective and Kulintang Academy teaches the art and culture of the Philippines to new generations of young people seeking identity and a sense of belonging to our roots," it said.
"Little Manila Foundation and our Little Manila Center will continue to be a space for understanding and love, bringing together diverse communities. This incident only strengthens our resolve and reaffirms the work that we are already doing." — BAP, GMA News