Racist messages are spray painted onto a wall at Wasabi’s Bistro, shown here Thursday, March 21, 2019 just outside of Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Racist messages are spray painted onto a wall at Wasabi’s Bistro, shown here Thursday, March 21, 2019 just outside of Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Wasabi’s Bistro vandalized with racist message

Editor’s note: There are descriptions of racism in this article that may be disturbing to some.

Wasabi’s Bistro just outside of Homer was vandalized with a racist message sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Orange spray paint was used to write “Leave our town,” “God will judg (sic) all nigers (sic),” and “Go back to Affrica (sic)” on the outside wall of the building near the main entrance. On a separate wall, the words “Trump 2020” were written in the same orange spray paint.

The bistro owners reported the vandalism to the Alaska State Troopers at about 7:55 a.m. when they found it, according to Sgt. Daniel Cox of the Anchor Point troopers post. It is under investigation.

Owner Colt Belmonte was there at Wasabi’s late Thursday morning getting ready to paint over the racist messages. Belmonte, who is white, owns the business with his wife Dali Frazier, who is black. They also owned the Alibi Bar and Cafe for five years before it was bought by their son, Nelton Palma.

As Belmonte pried open a can of blue paint, he said incidents like the racist vandalism are hurtful, but not at all surprising anymore. He pointed to a hole in the same wall made by a gunshot a few years ago, saying the bullet is still in there. He described how vandals also slashed the tires on his family vehicle a few years ago.

“They scratched the bug up,” Belmonte said. “They wrote ‘die n***** die’ and slashed the tires and scratched the paint up. We get letters every once in a while.”

“We hear things,” he continued. “And I don’t like to use the word, but … at the bar, you know, (we hear that) my wife is an ‘uppity n*****’ who should not own a business. (That) she doesn’t know where her place is. You know, you hear that all the time.”

Part of the message left on the bistro wall was for the family to go back to Africa. Belmonte grew up in Homer. After spending some time away, he moved back with his family in 1997.

“It’s saddening,” he said of the ongoing racist attacks against the family. “In this day and age?”

“I hate to make it political, but obviously it is,” he continued, gesturing to the “Trump 2020” spray paint on the other wall.

Asked whether incidents like this make Belmonte and his family question remaining in Homer, he said he and his wife “are done.”

“We don’t want to be here anymore,” he said.

Belmonte did say there are many in the community who reach out, apologize and offer to help when vandalism happens. He also said the people harassing the family are in the minority.

“It’s just a small handful of people, but they ruin it for everybody,” he said.

Belmonte said he thinks things have gotten worse since the 2016 election.

“I think our current presidency is letting these people have a voice,” he said. “They feel empowered, they feel whatever it is that they feel.”

Belmonte addressed the notion that Homer is the “Cosmic Hamlet” of the peninsula. He said in order to understand what things are really like, one has to be of color.

The vandalism is currently being investigated as a criminal mischief crime for damage to property, according to Cox. He said that if new evidence points to any additional crimes, they could be added.

“We look for evidence, we look for any video or witnesses,” Cox said.

Specifically, Cox said troopers want to know if anyone was at Wasabi’s over the course of Wednesday night.

“Basically we’re just asking if anybody saw a person or a vehicle at Wasabi’s between 11:30 p.m. last night to 7 (a.m.) this morning, to contact us and hopefully we can match up a person or a vehicle that was there and talk to them,” he said.

Cox said the investigation is ongoing and that troopers will publish any additional updates as they come.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

The words “Trump 2020” are spray painted onto a wall at Wasabi’s Bistro, shown here Thursday, March 21, 2019 just outside of Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

The words “Trump 2020” are spray painted onto a wall at Wasabi’s Bistro, shown here Thursday, March 21, 2019 just outside of Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

More in News

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the Alaska House of Representatives on Saturday rejected the budget bill passed by the Senate earlier in the week. The bill will now go to a bicameral committee for negotiations, but the end of the legislative session is Wednesday.
House votes down Senate’s budget as end of session nears

State budget now goes to negotiating committee

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Candidate for Alaska’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Tara Sweeney, a Republican, was in Juneau on Monday and sat down with the Empire for an interview. Sweeney said the three main pillars of her campaign are the economy, jobs and healthy communities.
Sweeney cites experience in run for Congress

GOP candidate touts her history of government-related work

One tree stands in front of the Kenai Post Office on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai taking down hazard beetle trees

The city hopes to leverage grant funds for most of the work

Former Alaska governor and current congressional hopeful Sarah Palin speaks with attendees at a meet-and-greet event outside of Ginger’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Palin brings congressional bid to Soldotna

The former governor took time Saturday to sign autographs and take pictures with attendees

In this October 2019 photo, Zac Watt, beertender for Forbidden Peak Brewery, pours a beer during the grand opening for the Auke Bay business in October 2019. On Sunday, the Alaska House of Representatives OK’d a major update to the state’s alcohol laws. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Graphic by Ashlyn O'Hara
Borough, school district finalizing $65M bond package

Efforts to fund maintenance and repairs at school district facilities have been years in the making

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Members of the House Majority Coalition spent most of Friday, May 13, 2022, in caucus meetings at the Alaska State Capitol, discussing how to proceed with a large budget bill some have called irresponsible. With a thin majority in the House of Representatives, there’s a possibility the budget could pass.
State budget work stretches into weekend

Sessions have been delayed and canceled since Wednesday

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Alaskans for Better Government members La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson and ‘Wáahlaal Gidáak Barbara Blake embrace on the floor of the Alaska State Senate following the passage of House Bill 123, a bill to formally recognize the state’s 229 federally recognized tribes.
Tribal recognition bill clears Senate, nears finish line

Senators say recognition of tribes was overdue

The Alaska Division of Forestry’s White Mountain crew responds to a fire burning near Milepost 46.5 of the Sterling Highway on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Cooper Landing Emergency Services)
Officials encourage residents to firewise homes

The central peninsula has already had its first reported fires of the season

Most Read