BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Elected officials representing Astoria on the city and state level are condemning the hate graffiti that was discovered scrawled on their offices and other local businesses on Monday.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said that the graffiti, which used a homophobe slur to describe former President Barack Obama, had no place in a diverse community such as Astoria.
“Writing hateful graffiti is cowardly, criminal acts that pollute our neighborhood and make people feel less safe,” Simotas said. “I am confident that the 114 Precinct will catch the perpetrator or perpetrators, whatever their sick motivation may be. These acts of hate will neither silence nor stop Astoria’s elected officials from working to fight discrimination and intolerance and to protect the beautiful diversity of our neighborhood.”
All three of the elected officials have been vocal against the President Donald Trump’s executive orders. They speculated that this is possibly the reason they were targeted.
Gianaris recently introduced legislation to counteract Trump’s proposed and temporarily halted Muslim travel ban and he has called for federal efforts that would prevent discrimination against people based on their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender.
“It is shameful that someone is trying to divide our diverse neighborhood through hostility and bigotry,” Gianaris said. “We can assure our community that these hateful actions will not silence our opposition towards policies we consider un-American and we will continue to fight for those who need our help no matter the cost.”
The 114th Precinct has documented each incident and is examining local security footage to try to identify the suspect.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org