Lebanon County couple encourages leaders to adopt anti-racism resolution after raccoon arson

Lebanon

LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — A Lebanon County couple is celebrating after local leaders passed a resolution against hate, racism, and violent crime. The couple has been pushing for this moment for months now because they say the messages on their yard signs have been the target of several hateful actions.

Ellie and John Salahub have multiple signs in the front yard of their home in North Cornwall Township. Those signs have messages like “Black Lives Matter,” “Teach Tolerance,” and “In Our America Love Wins.”

The signs are meant to make a statement.

“We all have to be tolerant,” John Salahub said.

“Vitriol, divisiveness, encouragement of racism, hate, xenophobia. We just wanted to make a statement against that,” Ellie Salahub said.

They say their signs became targets.

“They would drive past if we were out they would give us the middle finger, they would yell F you really loudly. Just very disturbing,” Ellie Salahub said.

They also say the signs were vandalized, especially the one that reads “Black Lives Matter.”

The attacks escalated on a November night caught on their porch cam when a person riding in a truck lit a dead raccoon on fire and put it in their driveway next to the Martin Luther King sign. They saw the raccoon arson as a clear reference to a racial slur.

“It was shocking, it was disturbing, but it just made us more resolute in getting the message out, because they were the exact reason we put the signs out,” Ellie Salahub said.

“They’re trying to bully us and to me, it just looks very cowardly,” John Salahub said. “Again, if you have a problem, knock at the door and let’s talk about this.”

They took their concerns straight to local leaders.

“We thought the only way you can address issues like this is by speaking up,” Ellie Salahub said.

On Tuesday night the North Cornwall Township Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution condemning hate and racism and supporting discussions about discrimination. Then on Thursday, the Lebanon County Commissioners did the same.

“We really feel that if it’s not acknowledged, it doesn’t get addressed, and then there’s no progress. We’re making little baby steps,” John Salahub said.

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