The new exhibition is heavily interactive, and visual, with video snippets from immigrants telling their stories.
The executive director of San Diego’s New Americans Museum, Linda Caballero-Sotello, posted on Facebook a photo of graffiti that was scrawled on one of the institution’s displays.
“Today in plain daylight,” she wrote in the post, accompanying the picture and a video message, “someone defaced our exhibit signs with anti-immigrant messages.”
“Too much immigration!” one of the messages, written in permanent black marker, read. “Go back to your country. This one is ours!”
Another message, according to Univision, complained about “over-population due to immigration.”
Caballero-Sotelo, who was born in Tijuana, Mexico, told EFE that the incident “is an attack on the museum, on the premise and mission that we have at this institution, which is to promote an understanding of immigrants and highlight their contributions.”
The museum, a non-profit that first opened in 2008, “provides inspiring and compelling educational and cultural programs and activities exploring our diverse immigrant experiences,” according to its website.
According to Caballero-Sotelo, this is the first time the museum has been targeted for this sort of vandalism, and she suggests that the results of the recent presidential election, during which the eventual winner, Republican Donald Trump, blamed much of the country’s current ills on illegal immigration.
“It is very disheartening,” Caballero-Sotelo says in the posted video, lamenting that “a cultural space that talks about the contributions of immigrants can be so threatening to those who now feel empowered and emboldened to speak very negative and very divisive messages.”