Chula Vista councilmen respond to hate vandalism at BVH


Gabriella Bomjardim

On Nov. 4 2021, Chula Vista Councilman Stephen Padilla speaks to the community and the press. The topic of discussion was the recent acts of vandalism of anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs on the Bonita Vista High and Bonita Vista Middle campus.

On Nov. 4, Bonita Vista High (BVH) hosted a press conference at 10:30 am where political, LGBTQ+ and religious leaders spoke out against recent anti-semitic and homophobic graffiti markings that vandalized the school earlier this week. 

Chula Vista Councilman Stephen Padilla was the first to reach out to Sweetwater Union High School District officials to organize the press conference. In a last minute scramble to organize the press conference news outlets like NBC7, The San Diego Union-Tribune, ABC 10 News and Univision arrived the morning of to cover the event. 

“I stood on these steps many years ago to announce my entry into community involvement. I grew up in this community, and the message I have for all of you is one I’m sure many of the other speakers will emphasize,” Padilla said during the conference. “This is not who we are. This is a community that exemplifies diversity, that seeks to reinforce and defend it.”

On the main entrance steps of Bonita Vista High on Nov. 4, Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas talks to the community about how children learn from their environment. She was the second speaker after Chula Vista Councilman Stephen Padilla. (Gabriella Bomjardim )

Padilla is a BVH alumnus and voiced his dismay over the anti-semitic and homophobic vandalism that defaced the hallways of BVH. His thoughts were mirrored by the other speakers, especially since these acts were in “a community as proud and diverse” as Chula Vista. 

Other speakers like the Mayor of Chula Vista Mary Salas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors member Nora Vargas, Executive Director of San Diego Pride Fernando Zweifach Lopez and Rabbi and Co-President of San Diego Rabbinical Association Devorah Marcus were in attendance and gave their own speeches. 

“Violence, bullying, harassment, discrimination are not new. There have been generations of folks before the people standing here who have been fighting to combat it. Unfortunately, we need all of you to participate in that as well. For as lonely and isolating as sometimes these incidents can make us feel, know that there are so many more people and organizations here ready to welcome you,” Lopez said. 

The press conference ended with Padilla reminding the public that if they know anything about the recent vandalism to call or text the Crime Stoppers tip line; 888-580-8477.