PROVIDENCE VILLAGE, Texas - A Denton County neighborhood is standing up to racism by sitting together on a porch.
A single image captures the campaign of support for new neighbors who are being harassed with threatening hate mail. The racist and threatening letters are serious enough that the sheriff's office has notified federal authorities because of the possibility that it’s a hate crime.
The letters are clearly designed to force the biracial couple out of a neighborhood. But instead, it’s prompted their neighbors to rally around them with a picture that really is worth a thousand words.
Johnny and Saint James Limoges moved to Providence Village in February, a small town east of Denton that incorporated just a few years ago.
“The letters started two weeks after we moved in,” she said.
The first letter set the tone. It read in part, “I don’t know what ghetto trailer park you came from… Go back and take your nasty [expletive] with you."
The couple has received almost 20 letters. All of them have come through the U.S. mail. But not all of them were sent to the Limoges. Several of the vile, threatening and racist letters were sent to neighbors. One of them was post marked in Aubrey. The rest came from Dallas.
One flyer that was sent to neighbors advertised a sex party. The latest letter talked about a house fire and a bomb.
"I'm horrified to think that somebody in my neighborhood that I’ve… I've grown to love my neighborhood,” said neighbor Sina Tidwell.
She and others found out about the letters through the HOA. It prompted her and others to rally around Johnny and Saint James.
Many of the letters make reference to Saint James sitting on her porch in her robe waiting for Johnny to come home from his night job.
Tidwell says it was her husband's idea to pose for "the porch picture" that is now atop the HOA's Facebook page.
"To be able to bring more of the ladies that I've come to know from living here to meet her and show her support and love and everything that I would want if I were in her situation,” Tidwell said.
“It brought tears to my eyes because it was so heartwarming to have the support of women I'd just met,” Saint James said. “I'm tearing up now. Every time I think about it, it does."
Johnny and Saint James are convinced the letter writer is someone in the neighborhood but refuse to be intimidated
"She's taken classes in guns and knows how to use them,” Johnny warned. “We got three mean dogs when they need to be."
“We're still here,” Saint James said. “If we were intimidated, we would have packed up already and moved."
"With the help of our neighbors, it has eased the pain some and the frustration,” Johnny said. “And we're not going nowhere."
Denton County's chief deputy says it’s a very unfortunate situation for the family and said his office is doing everything it can to find whoever is responsible.