When Italian immigrant Lucia DeFrancesco returned from a trip to the hair salon on Friday, the 83-year-old discovered that someone had broken into her Franklin Park home and vandalized it with racist messages.
“(It was) very bad. Very bad,” DeFrancesco said.
On Friday, DeFrancesco’s grandson, Dome Lorusso, was one of the first to get a call that someone had broken into his grandmother’s home.
“They came to the back and cut the screen of the sun room open,” Lorusso said.
After figuring out how they got in, Lorusso walked into the kitchen and saw two spray-painted messages on the floor both containing the n-word: one telling his grandmother to keep them out, and the other with just two words: “n----- lover.”
“It breaks my heart. It’s just not right. You could feel the hate just oozing off the words,” he said.
But the hateful messages did not end in the kitchen. They carried into DeFrancesco’s bedroom, where the intruder used lipstick to write “no n-----s allowed” on her mirror.
“They just went in there and defaced it. And that’s where you sleep at night. That’s where you should feel the safest,” Lorusso said.
After a health issue late last year, DeFrancesco needed the help of a nurse’s aide. She comes several times a week, and happens to be black. Lorusso said the aide feels responsible for what happened, even though that’s obviously not the case.
“She’s an amazing woman. It’s not like she’s doing any negative things,” he said.
DeFrancesco has lived in the neighborhood for four decades, and her family says they have never had any problems like this before. In fact, they say the neighborhood is quite diverse.
The intruder also stole some of DeFrancesco’s jewelry. Franklin Park police are investigating the break-in, and have told DeFrancesco to stay out of the home for her safety.
“We are going to stand up against it, and hopefully create some kind of change to make it stop,” her grandson said.