A Black Minnesota family who relocated in 2022 to a predominantly white community of North Branch in southeastern Minnesota experienced two incidents of targeted racial vandalism recently.
Their move was driven by a desire for a quieter environment and a bigger house to raise their daughter, but they didn’t anticipate encountering such bigotry in their new home.
Natosha Jackson and Jay Franklin’s ordeal began with racist vandals painting a white supremacy/ KKK symbol on their garage last month.
The next act against them was an offensive depiction of a hanging, seemingly taking aim at Jay Franklin, sprayed in red paint on the garage door. On the caricature, there appeared to be a noose around the stick figure’s neck. The perpetrators put the first letter of Franklin’s name within the character’s head with the N-word written next to it. This made Jay believe that whoever did this to the family must know him.
“That made me look like somebody knew me or somebody kind of targeted me. I just kind of felt like that was crossing the line. That was just a little too much,” Franklin said in an interview with WCCO.
Franklin says he just wants his family to be safe.
“I’m just here to protect my family and take care of them,” Franklin said. “But I just wouldn’t want anything to escalate or get out of hand or get crazy.”
Jackson and Franklin were not the only ones upset by these acts, but so were their neighbors.
Without being asked and as a sincere act of support, the neighbors power-washed and painted the garage door. The community wanted the family to know that these acts were not indicative of what people in the community really believed. One person came to their home asking if he could pray with them.
In fact, the neighbors also brought tokens of friendship like gift cards, letters, and flowers to lift the family’s spirits.
“Just saying, ‘Hey, we’re sorry that you guys are going through this. This is really not how our community is,” Franklin shared.
According to the U.S. Census, the city of North Branch is 95 percent white and 0.4 percent Black.
Jackson, who said she is ready to move if her loved ones continue to feel unsafe in their home, shared that more people have offered support and been positive toward them than anything.
The North Branch Police Department is investigating and suggested that the family install cameras as a way to spot the vandals should it happen again.