Local leaders, led by the YWCA Butler, convened a meeting last week to map out a community-wide response to a newly installed billboard featuring a swastika and other offensive messaging.
The billboard reportedly began displaying messaging Jan. 9 at a prominent intersection in Summit Township. The swastika accompanies the message, “FBI corrupt & dangerous THE GESTAPO.” The board rotates through a range of other slides that contain homophobic and white supremacist statements.
Elizabeth Short, YWCA Butler’s executive director, told Pittsburgh City Paper that over 50 people gathered for a Jan. 11 meeting to discuss a response.
“There is a significant number of people who are not willing to sit by and let this hate speech go unchallenged,” Short said.
The billboards are reportedly located on private property and the presumed owner has a history of displaying similar messaging in neighboring Armstrong County. Township officials who supplied the permit told the Butler Eagle it could not intervene because the billboard constitutes freedom of speech.
Laura Cherner of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh told City Paper that her organization has been in contact with local law enforcement and has security protocols for responding to possible anti-Semitic threats.
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