A Black family in Yulee, Florida received racist hate mail last week after celebrating their twin daughters’ — Xanah and Xarah —graduation from high school. David and Toya Sproul hung posters of their teenagers near the entrance of their home with notes that read “Senior: Class of 2020.”
On Thursday (July 23), the Sprouls received an anonymous letter in their mailbox, which told them to take the posters down and leave the neighborhood.
“Don’t you think enough is enough? It’s time to take those hideous posters of that ugly fat black girl down off your house,” the letter read. “What a disgrace to the neighborhood. Consider moving to a ‘hood’ of your kind. Your neighbors are watching you!”
Shocked by the hateful letter, Toya immediately alerted the police.
“You see all the things happening all across the country. It’s one thing when it’s across the country, but it’s absolutely different when it’s literally in your own yard, literally in your own house,” her husband David told local news outlet WJXT.
The parents were especially surprised by the letter because of the celebratory and joyful nature of the posters. Xanah and Xarah are both straight-A students who graduated with honors from Yulee High School, where they were also section leaders in their marching band, members of the National Honor Society and more.
“They kind of threw [the letter] down and then they went about their way,” David recalled to BuzzFeed News after showing his daughters the mail. “They are aware of what’s going on in the country, but after reading it they could clearly see that the person doesn’t know them. That’s the nature of how they are because they’re just super sweet girls.”
The letter was reportedly mailed by an anonymous sender in Jacksonville, Florida. Following the incident, the Sprouls’ local Timber Creek neighbors have rallied in their support. Area residents have dropped off supportive cards, driven by their home and waved and are in the process of making “Timber Creek Strong” yard signs.
“The letter that they received does not speak for this neighborhood at all, you know. We’re a pretty positive neighborhood,” neighbor Rowdy Griffin told WJXT. “We all come together for each other and I just want to show my support for them.”
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office has responded to the letter and filed it as a threat and harassment incident. The Sprouls are pursuing a potential hate crime investigation, as the letter threatened them to leave the neighborhood.
“We at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office do not tolerate racism and hate crimes in our county,” Undersheriff Roy Henderson said. “This is out of character for Nassau County and we will continue to investigate this incident. We are proud of the Sproul twins’ accomplishments and hope to get to the bottom of this soon.”
Xanah and Xarah are set to attend Saint Leo University this fall on a full-ride scholarship, which they were awarded from the Boys and Girls Club.
“We love everybody,” Toya said. “We’ve raised our kids that way, which is why they’re really not that bothered by it — because we’re not gonna return hate. We’re not gonna retaliate in that way.”
See the letter and posters on Twitter below and the Sproul’s new lawn artwork from supporters, posted by Toya on Facebook.