The unknown vandal—or vandals—struck sometime between Sunday night and around dawn Monday morning, according to the nonprofit’s director, Adrienne Keel. She found out about the incident when Alan Marques, the owner of neighboring Brazilian jiu jitsu school Heroes Martial Arts, texted her just after 7am with photos of the aftermath.
“The vandalism sucks—period,” Keel told San Jose Inside in a phone call Monday evening. “But in terms of what happened to us, it could have been way, way worse.”
Whatever motivated the attack is anyone’s guess, she said, but it would come as no surprise if the downtown office and gathering place was targeted because of its visibly displayed mission to serve queer and transgender youth and young adults. And during international LGBTQ Pride Month, no less.
“It’s so hard to tell because we’re in the middle of a place with a lot of nightlife, so it could have been someone who was being drunk or obnoxious,” Keel said. “It could have been someone who was ineligible for the space and upset about that for some reason, or it could have been someone who has negative feelings about our community.”
SJPD spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia said police have no reason to suspect the window-smashing at the LGBTQ Youth Space was a “hate-motivated incident.”
To Keel and some of her neighbors, however, the attack sure seems targeted.
Whoever damaged the shop struck multiple times with an instrument that they didn’t leave at the scene, police reportedly told Keel. And no other businesses were affected.
San Jose Police Department officers who responded to the scene advised the youth space to buy some security cameras, per Keel. She’ll consider it, she said, but she wants to be a good steward of the nonprofit’s limited financial resources.
Thankfully, Keel said, a handyman boarded up the broken windows and door and the agency has some money for incidentals to repair the damage.
As for Keel, she said she’s not particularly inclined to press charges, even if cops find the perpetrator. But she does have a message for the vandal if this was actually a hate crime.
“I would say that this is a sanctuary and a safe place for a community that really is marginalized,” Keel said. “And if you feel like you’re not on board with our community, if you don’t like our community, all you have to do is just keep walking.”
Marques echoed the sentiment.
“If they were targeted because of who they are, then what they did just illustrates why there’s a need for that center to be here in San Jose,” he said. “And if that’s that case, then I just want to say to the LGBTQ community that this is not reflective of who we are in San Jose and not reflective of who we are in the SoFA district, which is an eclectic neighborhood that celebrates diversity of all forms.”
Anyone with information about the incident or who’d just like to help the LGBTQ Youth Space repair the damage, is welcome to contact Director Adrienne Keel directly at 408.343.7942 or [email protected]. SJPD urges tipsters to call either 9-1-1 or Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408.673.1581.