The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, on Crescent Road in Glen Cove, was vandalized over the weekend, center officials said, with graffiti found on the property and damage to many of the signs and gardens.
In a news release, HMTC Chairman Steven Markowitz wrote that while “this ugliness may be able to be physically cleaned off ... the hurt and fear will remain.”
According to surveillance video, Glen Cove Police Department officials believe four young men, who also appeared to have vandalized the neighboring Webb Institute, committed the crime. Glen Cove Police Department Detective Lieutenant John Nagle said that the police would be reviewing the tapes for clues and uploading an image onto the department’s Facebook page in order to ask the public for help in identifying the culprits. The four suspects are wanted for two counts of criminal mischief and two counts of graffiti.
The tolerance center has long fought against acts of bigotry and hate, often reaching out to the local community whenever a hate crime occurs, like when swastikas were found spray-painted in Oyster Bay over the summer. State Sen. Jim Gaughran said he was sickened to learn of yet another act of hate occurring on the North Shore.
“The center is a sacred place and a sanctuary to many,” Gaughran said. “This incident is a hateful attack on all our communities and should not be tolerated. I am united with the Glen Cove community as we disavow such ugly acts of hate.”
State Assemblyman Charles Lavine said he rushed over to the HMTC when he heard the news and described the vandalism as problematic. Lavine had partnered with State Sen. Todd Kaminsky to introduce legislation in the state to bring hate symbol education to public schools back in August. Lavine said that while teens can perform these acts of vandalism to try to be provocative, it serves as no excuse to the damage they do to a community, which is why an educational program is necessary in schools.
“This incident emphasizes all the more the absolute necessity for every American of good faith to stand up in opposition to the wanton propagation of hatred in our country,” Lavine said.
His legislation will be up for a vote when the assembly and senate reconvene in January. He urged his fellow representatives to approve the bill in order to curb these acts of hatred.
State Governor Andrew Cuomo had also recently signed into law another of Kaminsky’s bills to implement hate crime recognition and response training for law enforcement officers.
Anyone with any information on the crime or suspects can contact the Glen Cove Detective’s Department at (516)-676-1002. All callers will remain anonymous.