Milwaukie

Interracial family fears hate behind swastika painted on van

Interracial family fears hate behind swastika painted on van »Play Video
The Stewart family took this photo of a backward swastika painted on their minivan.

MILWAUKIE, Ore. – Vandals painted a swastika on a family's minivan, and the family says they think they may have been targeted because they are an interracial family.

The swastika spray painted on the Stewart's van was actually backward. But the family feels like that was just a mistake and the intention was still to show hate.

Nicole Stewart's children, Jonah, 14, and Elijah, 16, never thought anything of it until they found the symbol on their van Wednesday morning.

"I don't really know what the swastika looks like ... but I know that it came from the history between the Germans and Jewish, blacks and stuff and how they didn't like them," Jonah said.

"I figured it was somebody purposely doing it because we were here, which I hope not," said Elijah. "I hope it was just someone just running around doing something dumb."

But Nicole worries about who might be behind it.

"I knew it was targeted to our family, because we're the only mixed family, African American family in the neighborhood," she said.

But they're friends with most people on the block and have no idea who would have done this.

"That's kind of where it becomes a little scary," Nicole said. "Because you don't know if it was a teenage kid just being stupid and who regrets what they did, probably, or was it an adult who has an agenda."

Her boys don't want to believe that's possible.

"Somebody going out of their way to hurt our family – that wouldn't be cool," Elijah said.

Nicole did file a report with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. KATU News is waiting to hear back from investigators.

But this was the first time the family said they've experienced something like this in their neighborhood.

The family reached out to KATU News after they saw the vandalism on their minivan. If there's something happening in your neighborhood, tell us about it with an email to newstips@katu.com.