Arcata Plaza vandalized with anti-immigrant graffiti

By Lupita Rivera and Jasmine Martinez

Sidewalks on the Arcata Plaza near the corner of Cafe Brio and in front of Heart Bead were vandalized with anti-immigrant graffiti last weekend. 

“Trump 2020” was spray-painted alongside an anti-immigrant statement in front of Cafe Brio. 

The Arcata Police Department said they were notified on Aug. 16 and painted over the graffiti outside Cafe Brio on the morning of Aug. 18.

Despite the anti-immigrant rhetoric, the graffiti on the plaza is not categorized as a hate crime by Arcata Police Department Sergeant Brian Hoffman.

Hoffman said this is considered vandalism and was removed first thing Tuesday morning. 

Jeff Szmania, a maintenance assistant for Cafe Brio, said he was not surprised by the graffiti and believes we might start to see more of this because of the upcoming election. 

Szmania said Cafe Brio is adamant about taking immediate action against any graffiti and on Monday, one of the words was scrubbed off. 

Szmania said the Cafe Brio staff treats customers like they would like to be treated.

“We don’t want to offend anybody,” Szmania said.

After having been gone for a week, the owner of Heart Bead, Kim Alvarez, came back to a message that immigrants should “get out of America” spray-painted in front of her business. 

She said she noticed it as early as 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 16. She contacted the APD, however, a report had already been made.

Horrified, Alvarez began researching how to remove the graffiti. A quick Google search revealed that acetone and a wire brush would do the trick. 

With her Black Lives Matter mask on, she poured the acetone on the graffiti and started scrubbing. 

“That’s hatred sitting out on my sidewalk,” Alvarez said. “I want to get rid of it.”

Hoffman said APD could not open an investigation unless they receive tips of possible suspects. People can report vandalism to APD at 707-822-2424. 

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