Funds flood in for interracial couple who were victims of hate crime

Vandals defaced the Judes' home with racial slurs.

Story highlights

  • Swastikas, "white power" and "die n*****" covered the walls
  • The couple has raised more than $40,000 in donations to cover repairs

(CNN)Pat and Joe Jude enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with their adult daughter last month, but their return home brought a horrific discovery: they were the victims of a hate crime.

The interracial couple had been out of town, visiting their only living daughter. When they returned, they found the vacant rental property they owned defaced with swastikas. The words "white power" and "die n*****" were written on the walls. Vandals busted pipes, broke windows and stuffed drains.
Joe and Pat Jude have been married for 34 years.
"It was horrible and shocking," Pat Jude told CNN. "I just don't understand why someone would think this is okay."
More upsetting than the physical damage was the emotional harm. The crime caused the couple to relive decades of racism and injustice they endured because of their mixed marriage.
Joe, a black man, wed Pat, a white woman, in 1982. For years, they say, they endured verbal abuse and attacks. After 23 years, they headed from Orlando, Florida, to Cincinnati, Ohio, with their two children. But there, Pat says, the racial tensions got worse.
For Joe and Pat, the racial slurs and symbols smeared throughout the home touched off raw memories of their son Jay, who they said was taunted in school because of his mixed race. He committed suicide in 2010.
The couple's son committed suicide in 2010 after years of torment due to his mixed race, his parents said.

Outpouring of support

To cover damages to their home, the couple set up a GoFundMe account asking for $2,000. In just three days, they've received more than $40,000.
The outpouring of support, the couple wrote on the crowdfunding website, has "made such a difference."
"I just wanted a few dollars to cover repairs, but to see all this support," Pat said. "I can't tell you how much this means to me especially after everything we've gone through."
Donors expressed their feelings as well.
"I am so so sorry about this and what happened to your son. Love to you and your family! May you receive all the money that you need, and know that Love does trump hate," one commenter wrote on the GoFundMe site.
The vandals are still at large, but Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley says police are actively working the case.
"This crime is not only an attack on an innocent family," Cranley said in a statement, "it is an attack on our values."
Meanwhile, the Judes are offering $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest in the case.
Even though no one has come forward, Pat says her "faith in humanity is restored" and she has a message to whoever committed the crime: "Who in the world raised you to do this? We're all made the same."
The Judes intend to use some of the funds to hold an event to bring Cincinnati residents together. Another portion of the proceeds will be donated to a suicide prevention charity.
To learn more about the Judes' story, visit their GoFundMe page.