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Henrico family threatened, fence vandalized after 'Black Lives Matter' messages displayed

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Posted at 11:57 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 00:14:06-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. --A Henrico family said that they have been harassed and their property has been vandalized after they posted "Black Lives Matter" messages on their fence.

The brown picket fence lining the back of Tom Schaefers West End, Henrico County home is now drawing attention from all over.

“My wife and my daughter started this fence right at the beginning of March," Schaefer said.

The fence first served as an outlet for people during the COVID-19 lockdown to come write positive messages with chalk for one another. But Schaefer said now it’s his family's way of fighting for racial equality and joining the national 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

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“I believe that everyone counts and I believe that the black community right now is struggling in a way that we’ve been in denial for, forever. It’s nothing new. This isn’t a new movement," Schaefer said. "But we need to stand up with them and we need to stand up for them and we need to prove to them that we’re there for them.”

It’s allowing others to join in as well from all ages.

“It’s public, but it’s as anonymous as it comes," Schaefer said. “A little girl wrote, I’m black and I matter.”

Schafer said not everyone is happy about the messages and people have vandalized some of the work.

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"They’ve stolen my posters twice. They’ve vandalized my fence many times. I’ve had to come and erase certain messages," Schaefer said. "They’ve mailed anonymous letters to my house saying I’m decreasing the value of their property.”

“We talk about having the conversation, but no one ever has the conversation and when you try to bring up the conversation, you get called terrible names by your neighbor," Schaefer said.

Despite the negativity, Schaefer said he will continue to show his support and be an ally.

"It brings me great joy and it brings me great anxiety and it brings me stress, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way," Schaefer said.

Schaefer has filed police reports for each time vandalism has occurred.