ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 100 people showed up for a vigil Thursday night in support of a woman whose Nob Hill deli has been targeted with anti-Semitic messages three times since the start of the year.
Alisa Turtletaub is the owner of Nosh Deli and found mail labels stuck to the door of her restaurant with hate speech, including one message that read, “To the kikes who should die.” The word kike is demeaning term for Jewish people. Turtletaub said she was glad to see so many people attend the gathering.
“It’s disturbing, upsetting and kind of scary,” she said. “I can’t believe anybody would do that. Everybody needs to get together and say, ‘We are not going to take this hate.'”
The vigil was organized by a group of local activists. People gathered in front of the deli on Amherst as well as along Central Avenue near Carlisle. The 30 or so community members who gathered along Central waved signs that read, ‘Racists Not Welcome in ABQ,’ ‘An Injury to One is an Injury to All’ and ‘Stop the Hate.’ They were met by honking horns and shouts of support from drivers.
Jordan Whetchel was one of the organizers, and said he felt it was necessary to speak out against “blatant racism in the community” and to ensure everyone feels safe.
“This was done by probably one anonymous person,” he said. “But we want to make sure we shut that down before any organized racism is established.”
Joseph Shepherd and his wife, Julie, are loyal deli customers and have become friends of Turtletaub.
“It’s tough for anyone to start a restaurant,” he said. “Then to deal with these types of things on top of it.”
Kris Coffey is a devoted Catholic and said she attended to show her support for tolerance. Coffey, a Chicago native, said she and her family moved to Albuquerque because it was an open and welcoming place. She said she doesn’t want anyone to ruin its reputation.
“We are all people of God and this is unconscionable,” she said. “Hate does not belong in our community. Hate will get you nowhere.”