CEDARBURG -- A Cedarburg family told FOX6 News they were stunned to receive a hateful letter in the mail riddled with racist language. Instead of being silenced, they decided to speak out -- and the community took a stand with them.
Neighbors, friends -- and even strangers -- packed the park outside of Cedarburg's City Hall on Thursday evening, March 5, after hearing about the hateful letter on social media. The community gathered not only in support of the family that was targeted with hate mail, but also for anyone who has experienced something similar.
"We stand by love... and there's no place for hate here in Cedarburg," said Danielle Savick, who organized the peace rally.
People of all ages, and all walks of life stood as one during Thursday's peace rally.
"I just want to cry. It's amazing," Shannon Lilly said. "I know the majority of the community is not like this person that sent the letter."
Shannon Lilly and Devin Harris on Wednesday, March 4 found a letter in their mailbox addressed to "The Scums." The anonymous note read in part: "No one wants you infecting the area... get the (expletive) out."
"It's just devastating," said Harris. "My heart just dropped."
Harris sat down with FOX6 News the day after the letter turned up. He says he wants to turn this negative into a positive: "Because you just fight hate with love."
After sharing the letter on Facebook, thousands of people reacted in support of the couple and their two children.
"I think it's a sign of the way the majority of us feel," said Austin Braganza, a community member.
The group gathered to shine a light on love -- and to give the family all the more reason to stay put -- right here at home -- in Cedarburg.
"It's more than I could have imagined. I definitely knew we would get support, but this is just...it's incredible," Lilly said.
The family has reported the incident to the Ozaukee County Sheriff's Office. Authorities tell FOX6 News they are investigating the matter. In the meantime, the couple says police have offered their family extra surveillance near their home.
A community member has organized another form of support for the family. If you would like to send the family a letter of support, address the letter to:
c/o Bobbie Recob/Danielle Savick
Cedarburg, WI 53012
Letter's can be sent to or dropped off at the Cedarburg post office. Drop-offs must have stamps, too. Kids are encouraged to draw, color and write letters too.