CINCINNATI -- Online donors raised $61,670 -- more than 40 times the original fundraising goal -- in just four days to help repair an East Price Hill home owned by an interracial couple after vandals defaced it with racist graffiti.
Pat Jude and her husband, Joe, were celebrating Thanksgiving with their daughter when vandals broke into their rental property and spray-painted the walls with racial slurs, swastikas and the phrase ‘White power.’ The Judes also discovered that paint had been poured onto kitchen appliances and floors.
“They wrecked every room,” Pat Jude wrote Sunday on a GoFundMe campaign page to raise money for repairs. “They even poured cement down the pipes. We had wanted to move to that home in a few years but this situation hurts so much I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to do so without remembering the hate that was brought into our home.”
Although Jude wrote that the vandalism was one of the most shocking acts of prejudice she had ever experienced, it was not the first time racial hate had affected her family’s lives. Her son, Jay, committed suicide in 2010 after being targeted by bullies for his bi-racial background.
The Judes’ story quickly garnered national attention. According to Barlett Jackson, GoFundMe regional communications manager, 1,921 people in 50 states and 22 countries had donated to their campaign by Wednesday afternoon. Most donations, Jackson said, were around $32.
"If I could only talk to everyone of you and tell you each how thankful we are," Pat Jude wrote Tuesday. "The response has been overwhelming and so heartfelt."
Jude said Tuesday that, since the amount of money raised had surpassed her original goal by so much, she planned to donate some of it to suicide prevention organizations in Jay’s memory.
Police also said they had a possible person of interest in the vandalism case, but had not made an arrest as of Wednesday.