July 9, 2014 -- A Sea Cliff couple awoke on Fourth of July morning to find several swastikas scrawled on their their mailbox. It is the third time in three years that an individual or individuals have targeted Littleworth Lane residents Karin and Doug Barnaby with the universally recognized symbol of hate.
The Barnaby’s reported the incident to the Nassau County police and to Village officials that Friday morning. According to the couple, the police responded immediately and took the report, canvassed neighbors and searched throughout the area for other instances of the graffiti. None were found.
The issue was raised at the Village Board Conference on Monday evening. Mr. Barnaby, who was in the audience during the conference, explained that it was the third time the couple had been targeted. The first was in December 2011, and then again in January 2012, when other properties throughout Sea Cliff, including St. Boniface School, were vandalized with the symbol.
At the Board Conference, Mr. Barnaby said that he did not believe the incident to be anti-Semitic in nature, as he and his wife are not Jewish, but that the scrawling of the swastika was a targeted attack against his wife, who immigrated to the United States from Germany when she was six years old.
In response to a question from the Mayor, he said that he did not intend to erase the offensive symbols at that time. “I want it to be left there,” he said, “so that people can see what we’re going through. We’re not trying to be hard-nosed, we are trying to be good citizens.”
Trustee Carol Vogt, said that the swastikas are “a hard thing for people to see, especially for those who are Jewish.” She continued that perhaps there were other ways the issue could be addressed, and suggested that the Village make a public statement. “Prejudice is not funny, this is unacceptable,” she said. Trustee Kevin McGilloway added that “this is not a prank – this is an effort to irritate.” He agreed that the Village ought to make a public statement.
Reiterating a point he made at the meeting, Mayor Kennedy said the following day that he would like to see the swastikas removed from the mailbox. “The swastika is a symbol that represents genocide, anti-Semitism, and racism – no good can come from keeping such a mark in the public’s eye,” he explained. He also said that the Village Board would issue a statement on the matter.
In response to questions from Northwordnews, Ms. Barnaby said, “We have no idea why the perpetrator did this or what message he intends to send us. . . Everyone in Sea Cliff should see the ugliness of it to understand what ignorance and hatred look and feel like.”
On Wednesday, Ms. Barnaby said that she believed it was time to replace the mailbox. "As much as I wanted to leave the mailbox as is for awhile, it was just too offensive," she said. "I went out and bought a new mailbox this morning."