California Latino man woke up to find "illegal" spray-painted on his car


For those who are not sure whether racism exists in their neighborhood, sometimes the writing is on the wall — of your van. 

Police in Long Beach, California, began investigating after a Latino resident found the word "illegal" spray-painted bigly on the side of his van, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. 

Joe Solis, who is Jewish and Mexican, said a neighbor had alerted him to the vandalism Sunday morning. Though the message said "illegal," Solis said at first he thought maybe he had parked somewhere illegally. He probably didn't get it since the message made no sense: He and his family have been in this country for six generations. 

Solis' mother-in-law was the first to tell Solis that his Mexican heritage may have been the cause of the graffiti. 

"I never really felt like that before, like I don't belong," Solis told the Press-Telegram. 

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In the days immediately following Trump's election hate crimes and hateful intimidation spiked. The incidents range in gravity and severity, from Muslims being attacked to swastikas popping up on New York City subways to Jewish community centers across the nation experiencing bomb threats

As recently as December, Latinos indicated that they felt twice as much discrimination as they did a decade ago, and a recent Pew Research Center survey found that U.S. Latinos felt their situation was getting worse under Trump. 

Police currently have no suspects, according to the Press-Telegram. A banner two blocks down from Solis' home also had "illegal" sprayed on it.

Solis told the Press-Telegram that a shop painted over the word for free and he has since gotten a note on his front door saying, "We love you in our neighborhood." 

"The neighbors I used to wave to, I know their names. I'm shaking their hands. We're talking," Solis said. "It's good to see there's really good people in this world."