Hate speech graffiti hard to clean up in Morenci

Contributed Photo: This graffiti with a racial epithet was discovered on a street in Morenci outside residences of people of color. The epithet in this picture has been redacted by the Gila Herald.

Mother expresses concern over racist graffiti

By Jon Johnson


MORENCI – A racial epithet was emblazoned on a street in Morenci in front of a residence with mixed-race occupants and next to another residence whose occupants are people of color. 

The epithet was put on the street over Saturday night or early Sunday morning and appeared just prior to the National Holiday in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., who was a civil rights activist who was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Shayleh Moffett, whose children live at the residence on the weekend with her ex-husband, said the epithet was particularly disturbing to her since she is of mixed-race ethnicity. Moffett said an attempt to wash off the graffiti failed and that the graffiti would have to be paved over. 

“My whole family is just mad about this, and I felt like I needed to share this,” Moffett said.

With the timing and placement, Moffett is concerned that the graffiti may not just be teenagers writing stupid stuff but actual hate-speech aimed at residents on the street. 

“Let’s say it was some stupid teenager,” Shayleh said. “Is he part of some other group around here? I mean, I’m from Phoenix and I haven’t seen as many Confederate flags as I’ve seen around here.”