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Manhattan Beach Community Rallies Behind Family

Feb 06, 2015 08:34PM ● By DigMB Staff

The Manhattan Beach community turned out Friday night ion Metlox Plaza to support an MB family whose home was targeted for arson.

More than 500 people packed Metlox plaza on short notice Friday night to show their support for a Manhattan Beach family whose home was set ablaze early Wednesday morning.

The attack, targeting a home belonging to an African-American family, the Clintons, is being investigated as a possible hate crime.

Event organizer Michelle Moeller addresses the crowd.

With several local TV stations and other media surrounding the plaza, children and adults  held candles and listened as community members denounced the attack and expressed support for the Clinton family.

Vigil organizer Michelle Moeller, a friend of the Clinton family, said to the crowd, "THIS is the Manhattan Beach – wait, this is the Los Angeles – no, this is the AMERICA that we know."

Moeller continued: "You are a beloved, impressive and strong family here in Manhattan Beach. You're admired. You belong. You are supported. We are here to make a public statement that what was done to you, in your home, is unacceptable. The community condemns it."

"Tonight, this is extraordinary," echoed Manhattan Beach resident Dave Fratello. "It's necessary. This was completely unplanned, with very little advance notice, and please – just look around. I don't know if we can count how many hundreds of people from Manhattan Beach have turned out today to show what this community really is. Your being here means so much. Thank you for standing together."

Fratello acknowledged the government officials in attendance, including MB Police Chief Eve R. Irvine, MB Fire Chief Robert Espinosa, current and past City Council members, and newly elected Assembly Member David Hadley.

Following a moment of silence, the Clinton family then addressed the community, with Malissia speaking first, followed by her husband Ron. 

Said Malissia Clinton, "We are speechless, and so appreciative of the love that you all are showing."

She then related how she was in Washington, DC, when the firebombing happened. After she knew her husband, children and their dog were safe, Malissia said that she felt that she knew that all would be OK —because of the community.

"I knew instantly everything was going to be alright," Mailssia Clinton said. "So I have no fear. Because we have you."

Ron Clinton added, "I don't know what the reason is that this happened. But I know this: The outpouring of support and love that we've received from this community here, it tells me that this is much bigger."

"This togetherness here tonight is what we stand for. When it happens to one of us, it happens to us all."

More than $22,000 has been raised since Friday morning as a reward for an arrest in the case. Set up by Manhattan Beach resident Peter Pham, the effort aims to raise $25,000.

As of 9 p.m. Friday, 212 donors have donated $22,600. Pham says if the reward money is not used, the Clintons will select an organization to receive the donations.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact Manhattan Beach Fire Investigator Mike Murrey at (310) 345-0467.

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For an additional photo gallery, see The Daily Breeze online here.


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