- Passers-by waved and sounded their car horns in support of the dozens lined up along 'the southeast corner of the Skyway and Coutolenc Road during Thursday's rally for harmony.
The group was demonstrating at the site where someone painted racist graffiti, including a Nazi swastika, on a wooden fence May 7.
The event was organized by the Paradise Center for Tolerance and Nonviolence to show the community is we1coriring of people of all backgrounds. Wendy Hartley, the group's
past president, was impressed with the positive response from the vehicles.
"I don't think there's been a single negative response," she said.
The number of participants in the rally pleased Hartley. The rally started at 5 p.m. with 18
and swelled to more than 40 residents including people of all ages... and a dog. She said many in attendance weren't part of the center's core group.
"A lot of these are new faces," Hartley said.
The demonstration was "geared to counter the 16-foot
wide message someone wrote "9n the fence. The graffiti, which .has been removed, read "Keep
Magalia White" and had a Nazi swastika.
David Barnard of Paradise said he attended the rally because he wanted to let people know the racist graffiti was unacceptable on the ridge or .anywhere else.
"I think that anytime it's "done, it's a problem," Barnard said.
The graffiti happened in the county, but the Paradise Police Department reported eight examples of racist graffiti, including swastikas, in the town over the past five months. There have been two recent incidents of an Oroville man passing out white supremacist literature in town.
About 94 percent of Magalia's population identifies themselves as being white, according to the 2000 census. Barnard said the some residents lack of exposure to people of different ethnicities likely leads to ignorance and hate.
He's hopeful some driving by will be receptive to a message of equality for all.
"Someone's got to, break the cycle and maybe that's
what will happen here," Barnard said.
BACKGROUND: Someone painted racist graffiti, including a Nazi swastika, on a fence along the Skyway at Coutolenc Road May 7.
WHAT'S NEW: More than 40 ridge residents attended a Wednesday rally against the racist graffiti organized by the Paradise Center for Tolerance and Nonviolence.
WHAT'S NEXT: While the number of racist graffiti incidents in town are relatively low, the Paradise Police Department says investigations could be aided by the public reporting suspicious activity.