The threatening message “SS. Charleston2” was left on a New Shiloh Christian Center vehicle in Melbourne, Florida last weekend. Photo via News 13.
A Black church in Melbourne, Florida was attacked by vandals over the weekend. The message “SS. Charleston2” was scrawled in ink on a New Shiloh Christian Center pick-up truck that was also damaged in the attack.
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Charleston2 is likely a reference to the racist massacre of nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last month. The pastor of the church was killed in the attack.
The vandals at New Shiloh took down a large, framed portrait of the founding couple of the church and placed it one hundred feet away next to a tipped over flower arrangement. Glass was broken, fire extinguishers were sprayed inside the church, the truck had it’s windshield and panels smashed and was driven in to ponding water at the rear of the church in addition to the ominous graffiti.
Central Florida’s News 13 reported on the vicious attack:
“On Sunday, the church staff was prepping for their day as usual when they noticed a truck spray painted with the words Charleston 2.
“The church bistro was also ransacked and there was glass everywhere. Fire extinguishers were sprayed and footprints were left behind from the vandals.
““They came back into the foyer area and the flower that was sitting up was down on the floor. A portrait of myself and my husband they took out of the main foyer and left it on the floor,” said Jacquelyn Gordon, Bishop.
“Bishop Gordon also said the scariest part was finding the truck spray painted with the words, “Charleston 2.” The truck belonged to her husband. The vandals smashed the windows and ruined the side mirrors.
“They actually drove the vehicle into the pond and the truck was submerged underwater. The doors were wide open and glass was just everywhere,” said Lashaunda Edwards, Bishop’s daughter.
This is the third time the church has been vandalized.
““Each time we are told it is not a hate crime and we are not being targeted, but why is it that it has happened to us three times? There are other churches in this area, we are not the only ones,” said Gordon.”
A video report by Florida Today can be seen here.
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This is the third attack on New Shiloh in the past six months, according to Florida Today.
“Earlier in February, vandals set fire to a storage room at the church’s sprawling Sarno Road campus and scrawled a swastika on a storage unit wall, leaving behind at least $5,000 in damages. Sprinklers were activated, which Gordon credited with keeping the fire from spreading further into the 125,000 square-foot church.
“Also found was blue graffiti reading “Allahu Akbar,” which means “Our God is great,” in Arabic. The words “We see u” were painted in the swastika.
“A second incident happened in March at the church’s south Melbourne campus, with vandals leaving behind a spray painted noose and the message, “what is the $ of your soul?” on a church van.”
New Shiloh Christian Center is located in Brevard County. In 1951 a Black couple who founded the county’s NAACP chapter, Harry and Harriette Moore, were murdered in a Christmas Eve bombing of their home, reported Space Coast Daily.
“The Moores first founded the Brevard County Chapter of the NAACP in 1934, which led to a Statewide NAACP Conference in 1941. Mr. Moore served as the President of the Florida State Conference of NAACP chapters, as well as the founder and Executive Director of the Progressive Voters League.
“They championed such issues as equality, education, and voter registration.
“As the couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, 1951, a bomb exploded beneath their home. The tragic murder sparked an even more resounding outcry for civil rights with Harry T. Moore called the first American civil rights’ martyr.”