SPOKANE – The following is a joint statement from State Senator Andy Billig and Representatives Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli:

“Today it was reported that the Martin Luther King Center was vandalized with a racial slur. We are outraged that recent events have increased hate crimes against people of color and varying religious backgrounds across our country. And we are deeply saddened that we are seeing those same actions in our community. Spokane is better than this.

“No person should feel unsafe in their community. Not because of the color of their skin, their religious choices, or their gender or sexual identity.

“The MLK Center teaches equal respect and treatment of all people, focusing on children and families. They provide free preschool programs, parenting classes, after school programs, and promote the values and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a place of learning and acceptance.

“We seek to expand tolerance and understanding. As leaders, we want everyone to feel free and safe in their community. Actions like this hateful vandalism only set us back. We cannot allow hate to continue to spread, further alienating and dividing this great nation.

“To our fellow citizens of the Greater Spokane area, we are a united community. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. We urge you to stand in support of the MLK Center. The MLK Center is a beacon of hope and it will continue to be. We will overcome this act of hate and prove that the foundation of love that the MLK Center has created in our city will not waver.”