Vandals target Asian food market in Green Bay with COVID-19 graffiti

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 4:01 PM CDT
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Vandals leave behind hateful messages about COVID-19 on vehicles at Main Oriental Market in Green Bay.

The store owners originally thought the graffiti was the effort of some kids with too much time on their hands.

"It was in the morning time, and we noticed that someone graffitied on our cars," said Tara Yang, manager at Main Oriental Market. "We didn't think that it was meant to be racist. We didn't know what it said or what the picture was."

Customers at the market quickly recognized the word "COVA" written in the black spray paint on of the white vans at the business, interpreting the graffiti as a COVID-19 related racist attack against the business owned by Yang's parents.

"This is honestly really sad," Yang said. "It's sad because this is such a devastating time in our economy and in our community that I am sad to see someone would bring such negativity to our community at this time."

She decided to post about what happened on her personal Facebook page. In the post, she pleads with her friends and neighbors to "quit fighting each other and start actually contributing to society in a helpful way."

That message reached a man named Drew. A long-time customer of the market, he realized he had the supplies and skills necessary to do something about the graffiti.

Removing the spray paint off of the vans took Drew just a few hours on Wednesday morning.

He did not want to speak on camera but tells Action 2 News it is the times of crisis when a person's true character comes out. He wanted to make sure he did his part to fight the hate by doing some good.

As for the people responsible for this crime, Yang says: "We probably won't be able to find them, but I do have one message for them, whoever this person or these people are. Although the Asian community only makes up four- to five-percent of Green Bay's population, I want them to know we are here, and we stand strong. We're not going to be scared from this little crime."