By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
RUN WITH 1318/artwork/process/HARC Graffiti – any of the pictures that aren’t in the “Bad” folder.
ARTWORK IN PROCESS
HARC workers found threatening graffiti on their office building on April 29. Photos courtesy of Nicole Adelman
YPSILANTI – Workers at Ypsilanti’s HIV/AIDS Resource Center (HARC) were “greeted” by threatening graffiti when they reported for work on April 29.
Among the messages that had been spray painted on the building that houses the agency and the agency’s outreach van were “We’re watching you,” and “Representing Ypsi gay Republicans.” “AIDS School” was painted on the organization’s outreach van, which provides anonymous HIV testing, substance abuse referrals, condom distribution and needle exchange.
“We feel pretty hurt – we feel definitely targeted,” said Nicole Adelman, director of prevention programs for HARC. “St. Jo’s is cleaning up the building, but our concern is the van and the safety of the staff. It doesn’t feel great to walk in and out of the building when it’s dark outside.” St. Joseph’s Hospital owns the building that houses HARC’s offices.
Agency workers responded creatively, putting duct tape over the word “AIDS” on the outreach van to allow the organization to continue serving clients while other alternatives are found.
“Our goal is to paint a mural over the graffiti,” said Adelman.
As for the building, cleanup efforts continued on May 1 after a power washing of the building April 29 failed to remove all of the graffiti.
HARC serves people living with HIV and AIDS in Washtenaw, Jackson, Livingston and Lenawee counties.
A call to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s office about the investigation was not returned by press time.
To help HARC raise money to paint over the graffiti that has defaced their outreach van, mail checks made out to HARC to 3075 Clark Road, Suite 203, Ypsilanti, MI, 48197. For more information about HARC call 734-572-9355 or visit http://www.r2harc.org.