ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Ashland leaders are speaking out after being made aware of several neighborhoods that received hateful messages against Jewish and LGBTQ communities.

The Town of Ashland and Ashland Police are working together to find who shared anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ flyers around seven Ashland neighborhoods.

“It’s terrifying. The thought that someone would have this thought running through their mind, but that they felt confident enough to go through the neighborhood that I live in and spread it is just not great at all,” said Ashland resident Lindsey Hues.

Hues and Barb Swedo spoke to 8News about how residents were feeling in light of the news. They said they were both discouraged to hear that hateful messages like this had spread to their community.

“We found everybody has a nice open ear until we get things like that,” Swedo said.

Leaders were made aware of the incidents on Sunday, Dec. 18, and have since started a search to find the person responsible.

To date, police are aware of distribution in the following areas:

  • Slash Cottage
  • The 900 and 1000 blocks of Maple Street
  • New Street, 100 block of McMurdo Street
  • 900 block of Virginia Street
  • East Francis Road
  • Kilby Station Road

In a statement, the town spoke out against the distribution of the flyers:

Hate has no home here in the Center of the Universe. The individuals or groups of individuals responsible for the flyers seek to spread disinformation, sow hatred, encourage intolerance, and are not a reflection of Ashland’s values.

Right now, leaders say they are focused on the safety of residents living in Ashland. They are urging anyone who fears for their safety or the safety of others around them to call 911.

Ashland Police is asking anyone with information to contact them at 804-365-6140.