DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A Decatur woman said she felt directly targeted after she came home on Friday to discover someone had vandalized her "Black Lives Matter" yard sign.
"I was horrified, actually," recalled Valerie Gilbert. "I felt like somebody had taken a shot at me or something. I really, I personally felt violated."
Gilbert said she noticed the sign as soon as she pulled into her South Candler Street driveway at around 11:30 p.m.
"My car lights kind of grazed my sign and I noticed that it had two strips of [...] red duct tape that had been used to obliterate the word 'black.' So, it read 'lives matter,' and I have to say, my heart went up into my chest," Gilbert said.
Gilbert said she put the sign up in her yard three or four months ago to show her support for the movement and was shocked to see it defaced.
The retired teacher, however, said she was encouraged to see all the positive responses she received after posting about the incident on the online community, Nextdoor.
"The community has really come together and really said, 'We support you. We're angry too. We'll do what we need to do to make sure that you feel supported and that you feel that you have freedom of speech in Decatur,'" said Gilbert.
Some of her neighbors even offered to put up more "Black Lives Matter" signs to show their solidarity.
Gilbert notified both the Decatur Police Department and the Southern Poverty Law Center about the vandalism. She does not plan to let it deter her from sharing her views.