'I was quite offended,' man finds 'It's okay to be white' signs in Grand Haven

Signs in Grand Haven

GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - A nationwide trend hit the lakeshore this weekend. Signs reading, "It's okay to be white" were found in the Grand Haven Sherman Avenue neighborhood

"The one I found first was right here," Leon Bakke said as he pointed to a tree on Leggatt Street. 

The signs riddled telephone poles and trees along the road.

"I was quite offended," Bakke said. "I think Grand Haven has a reputation of being an all white exclusive community, and I think this just reinforces it. " 

"I went around and removed about half a dozen, and my wife has a few more so we took them down. It looks like other people have taken them down too." 

Then, another one was found near Butler Street on Sherman Avenue. 

Bakke immediately reported the incident to Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Monday morning.

In a press release, Chief Jeff Hawke cited a city ordinance saying it's a violation to attach signs to trees and utility poles along city streets without permission from the Community Affairs manager. 

"In other communities, similar signs have contained links to a white supremacist blog. This was not the case with the flyers in Grand Haven this morning. While we are sworn to protect everyone's right to free speech, we won't ever support speech that attempts to divide us or that promotes racism. Everyone is welcome in Grand Haven, and there's no room for hatred," Hawke stated in the press release. 

That message that resonates with Bakke who hopes the recent actions don't deter visitors.

"I personally would like to see Grand Haven as a more diverse community. I hope this doesn't stand in the way of that or inhibit that."

Police say they would remove all the signs and those responsible for them, may be ticketed. 

If you have any information regarding this incident you're urges to call the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety at 616-842-3460. 

Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

© 2017 WZZM-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment