Derogatory yard sign targets local Burmese community

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SOUTHPORT, Ind.--Residents on the south side are outraged after a hateful sign appeared on a front lawn of an empty house.

Laura Wilkes saw the hand written sign in the front yard next to her house.  At first she thought it was a political campaign sign.  However, a closer look revealed the sign read "No more Chin."

"I was so mad and frustrated that in 2016 that we still have to deal with this," said Wilkes.

The comment targets the Chin community from Burma who now call Indianapolis home.

"I think it's unfortunate that it got to that place," said Peter Thawnghmung of the Chin Community of Indiana.

Leaders with the local Chin community say they see this as an isolated incident.

"Bottom line, this is a cultural integration issue. We look at this as an unhappy neighbor posting something," said Thawnghmung.

Wilkes was was enraged by the sign.  She ripped up the bottom half and changed the message of the sign.  After she was done, it read 'No more hate.'

"I didn't want anyone to see it and I wanted them to know not everyone feels that way," said Wilkes.

This is something the Fair Housing Center is not going to tolerate,"said Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center.

According to the Burmese American Community Institute Inc , approximately 14,000 Burmese refuges live in Indianapolis.  Roughly 85 percent of those refugees are of the Chin ethnicity.

"National origin, much like race, religion, color and other groups are protected under fair housing laws," said Nelson.

Despite Wilkes' effort, the neighbor returned once again and changed the sign to display a more hateful message.

"This does not reflect  what Southport is all about, Indianapolis is all about or Indiana is all about," said Thawnghmung.

The sign is now removed and the person listing the home is not believed to be connected to the sign.

While it's unlikely any legal action will come from this incident. Leaders with The Fair House Center say they hope this will serve a teaching moment for the community.

If you are aware of housing discrimination occurring in your community, please report it to us at info@fhcci.org or 317-644-0673.

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