Three recent acts of harassment and bullying against members of the Lewes/Rehoboth LGBTQ community have community leaders asking - why?
Fay Jacobs is editor of Letters, a publication from CAMP Rehoboth.
She says she was giving a live Zoom presentation on LGBTQ history for a community center when she and her audience were “zoom bombed.”
“We were all in the waiting room and then we all came in to start the program. And all of a sudden we were “bombed” by three individuals who were screaming and with loud music - horrible music - and films of the KKK and cross burnings,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs says the people were also typing hateful phrases in the chat area.
Jacobs has been “out” and active in the LGBTQ community for over 40 years and says she’s never experienced this kind of hate before. She describes the “Zoom bomb” as almost like a home invasion as she sat in her den giving her Zoom presentation.
In another instance, a same-gendered, interracial couple in Lewes ,Charlotte King and Aimee Wiest, had their yard vanadalized when someone chemically burned the word “Trump” into their lawn.
And the Lewes Fire Department’s assistant fire chief, William Buckaloo, made Facebook posts using hateful and offensive language. He has been suspended pending a full investigation by the fire department.
CAMP Rehoboth executive director David Mariner says his non-profit wants people to know they remain committed to supporting the entire community.
“And we know that folks have been affected by these particular incidents," said Mariner. "So we’ve reached out to people. We offer short-term counseling for individuals who need help when they’re going through something like this.”
Confidential, short-term counseling at CAMP Rehoboth is available by calling (302) 227-5620.
Mariner says it’s extremely hard to attribute these incidents to any one thing. But he notes hate crimes are on the rise nationally.
Mariner adds incidents like these don't diminish the progress made by groups like CAMP Rehoboth over its 30-year history make Delaware neighborhoods and communities safer for everyone.