Graffiti, including racist symbols, was left on the side of a house on Hespeler Road on the evening of July 13. Police are continuing to investigate the incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Smashed windows and racist graffiti left on a Summerland home has left the family feeling disturbed.

The home, located on Hespeler Road in Summerland, was vandalized on the evening of July 13. Summerland RCMP were called around 10:30 p.m.

Two rocks were thrown through windows at the home, including the window of an upstairs bedroom. Nobody was in the bedroom at the time, said Sgt. Dave Preston of the Summerland RCMP detachment.

Racist graffiti, including swastikas, was painted in red on the side of the house.

The homeowners were at home at the time of the incident, in their family room. Kiran Lekhi said he heard a bang and saw broken glass in a bedroom of the house.

After police arrived, the family stayed elsewhere for the night.

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Lekhi is wondering if the vandalism on July 13 is related to an earlier incident. Around June 29 and 30, her vehicle, parked at the home, had been vandalized. During that incident, she saw three people near the home.

The family says the vandalism and racist graffiti is disturbing.

The Indo-Canadian family moved to Summerland around 1987, and built the house in 1990. Their children grew up in, and attended school in Summerland.

Until recently, there have been no incidents affecting the family or the property.

“This has never happened before. On this street, we’re all friends,” said Lekhi.

Elsewhere in Summerland, swastikas were spray painted on the bandshell in Memorial Park overnight on July 13 to 14.

Summerland mayor Toni Boot is concerned by these incidents. She said incidents of this nature are happening more frequently than in the past.

“To have to witness this makes me sick, but at the same time, it is another opportunity for us to gain some understanding about where society is in respecting all people,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate that this has to happen for people to talk more about this racism, but if this is what it takes maybe this is a good thing.”

Boot, who is Black, has also been the recipient of racist comments in the past.

In October, 2014, while she was running for council, the sign at her business in Summerland was defaced with racist slurs.

Police are continuing to investigate and are canvassing neighbours in the area.

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