AZ family, friends gather to cover up hateful message

About 100 people gathered at a home in Valley Sunday morning to paint messages of love and support on a mailbox that had anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on it last week.

PHOENIX - About 100 people gathered at a home in Arizona Sunday morning to paint messages of love and support on a mailbox that had anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on it last week.

"We were definitely sad and disappointed, but we really wanted to turn that around," said Shoshana Simones.  "We're holding our heads high." 

Just last week, Shoshana and her husband Ari, who are Jewish, returned home from a quick vacation and discovered their mailbox at their home near 22nd Street and Glendale, had been spray painted with anti-Semitic graffiti, including a swastika.

So on Sunday morning, they invited their family, friends and neighbors -- Jewish or not -- to come to their home and not only cover up the hateful graffiti, but paint a more powerful message.

"Love. Love is greater than hate," Ari Simones told 12 News. "Positivity.  Kindness. We want to spread that message."

RELATED: Anti-semitic graffiti painted on east Phoenix family's mailbox

The Anti-defamation league says that's extremely important right now, as reports of anti-Semitic incidents and crime are rapidly increasing. Nationwide, they jumped more than 30 percent in 2016 and surged 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017. In Arizona, anti-Semitic incidents have tripled since 2015. 

But that's not discouraging the Simones. 

"It's been incredible to see the positive love and outpouring of support in the face of this and that's the stronger message for us," Shoshana Simones said.

They don't know how long they'll keep this message on their mailbox, but it's one that will stay in their hearts forever. 

Police are still investigating to find who painted the anti-Semitic graffiti on the Simones' mailbox. If you have any information, you're asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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