An Ohio family is heartbroken after vandals spray-painted a derogatory word on their home — a word beginning with “R” that is used to refer to people with certain disabilities. The family says the slur was directed toward their teen son, who has muscular dystrophy, KDKA (Pittsburgh) reports.
Jayden Clark of West Jefferson, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, has muscular dystrophy, which is a muscular disease that has nothing to do with his brain. Although he can’t speak, he can read, hear, and understand. More to the point, he can understand what the R-word means. So you can imagine the shock and anger that his dad, Steve Clark, felt on Saturday morning when he saw that word scrawled in red spray paint across his garage.
“It hurts a lot. It makes you cry.”
As Clark points out, the vandals were attempting to send a message to his son, who has his full mental capacities.
“This angers us. This has nothing to do with his mindset. He’s a smart boy. He has no problem understanding anything. He knows what that word means and he knows how mean it is.”
Vandals spray-paint slur on West Jefferson boy’s home — @MattEdwardsNBC4 has more at 11 p.m. https://t.co/eeyi9cEP99 pic.twitter.com/2FWoMJoVKj
— NBC4 Columbus (@nbc4i) 25. септембар 2016.
Fortunately for Jayden, he has more friends than he even knew about. Word of the vandalism at his home began to spread around the community, according to WBNS (Columbus). The news eventually reached Carlos Garcias, a member of the Columbus Riders, a motorcycle club. Garcias went on Facebook and called his friends to action. Later that afternoon, a few dozen bikers showed up to express their love and support to the teen.
Columbus Riders surround child who suffers muscular dystrophy with support after graffiti & the r-word sprayed on West Jefferson home. pic.twitter.com/yqSdosHCSz
— Laura Borchers (@LauraBorchers1) 25. септембар 2016.
One of the bikers gave a short speech, while others let the teen rev their motorcycle engines. Garcias said that he and his bike-rider buddies did it to show Jayden that he has support.
“We did this for Jayden. He has a better way to get around than anyone else — which is a wheelchair. We want him to know he can go up and succeed in life; not slow down because someone who thinks he’s different put him down.”
Steve Clark said the bikers set an example for Jayden about the good in the world.
“They showed him there’s good people in the world. Not everyone’s like this.”