ONLY ON KRON4: Concord LGBT community center is target of hate crime


CONCORD (KRON) — An LGBT community center is the target of a hate crime in Concord.

Anti-gay graffiti was found written on the property during an investigation of another crime there. The executive director of the center tells KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun, the LGBT community center is under attack.

“Graffiti that was left…making fun of the LGBT community. It was all on the outside of the building,” said Ben-David Barr, who is with the Rainbow Community Center. “It’s kind of like this escalating battle with them where they just keep coming back and trying to figure out how to break through.”

It happened earlier this week at the Rainbow Community Center in Concord. A burglar broke in and stole computer equipment.

The executive director of the center, Ben-David Barr, said this wasn’t the first time.

“We have had a series of kind of break-ins and other attacks in the last couple of weeks,” Barr said.

In fact, the Rainbow Community Center has been burglarized four times in the last 10 days. In the most recent incident, the burglar left hate-filled graffiti targeting the people there.

“You know hate speech is something that our community is sadly accustomed to, it happens, shame and stigma around sexuality and gender identity is still commonplace, but we’ve done a good job of building a sanctuary here…,” said Ryan Beaver, who is also with the community center.

It is a sanctuary that has been providing services for the LGBT community in Contra Costa County for the past 20 years.

“We have programs for youths, for seniors, for people living with HIV,” Barr said.

Concord police say this recent break-in is more than a simple burglary.

“Yes. It’s being investigated as a hate crime,” Concord police Cpl. Christopher Blakely said. “We’re looking into any video surveillance that may have recorded the incident in the area. It’s a priority to us, and we are going to investigate this.”

In the meantime, Barr said he has no idea who is targeting the center.

“So more than anything right now, we just need this to stop,” Barr said. “And we need to make sure people feel safe coming to the center and that our employees feel safe being here,” Barr said.

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