BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — As Sabrina Wilker opened her car door Sunday morning to drive her younger siblings to church, she was greeted by hate and fear.
“There was a pop can and pop spilled all over hood, and it smelled of urine. It was all over the doors and inside the car. There were used tampons inside the car,” Wilker said.
The sunroof of her car had been left slightly open and that allowed the vandals access to the passenger compartment. Though utterly disgusting, the act of hate actually came in words — words that were scrawled on pieces of paper and placed on the driver’s seat.
“And there was receipt paper with the word “dyke” all over my door and markers on the windows and door, saying dyke,” Wilker said.
It was when she read those words that she knew it was her sexuality that was being targeted.
“I was extremely upset because I haven’t been out for very long, so it hit me very hard,” Wilker said. ‘’I’m not used to that, being discriminated against.”
Complaints of this nature come into the offices of Outfront Minnesota, a longtime advocate for the LGBT community, far too frequently.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, hate and bias crimes are about power and discrimination,” said Rebecca Waggoner, who works for Outfront.
She runs the anti-violence programs for the organization. She called the crime committed against Wilker despicable and cowardly; she says it’s something we can all help stop.
Waggoner had these words for those who witness hate crime or harassment:
“Stand up when you hear somebody say something derogatory and stop it,” Waggoner said. “That’s how we’re going to end hate and bias crimes in Minnesota.”
Blaine police promise extra patrols and tougher punishment for those responsible. In the meantime, Wilker will keep the bumper stickers on her car and pride in her heart.
“Everyone should have the right to be who they are and shouldn’t have to hide it or be afraid of something like that will happen,” she said.
Outfront Minnesota is bracing for more of this type of crime.
It says in other states where gay rights or marriage amendments have come before voters, there’s been a 40 percent increase in crimes directed against LGBT people.