Firebombed Family Turns Possible Hate Crime Into Learning Opportunity

MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — When someone threw a burning tire at the Clinton family’s front door in Manhattan Beach last year, they intended to do some damage. In that, they succeeded. The home needed $200,000 worth of repairs.

But whoever threw the burning tire failed if they intended to spread fear or hate.

“Take something that was really intended to harm us and to hurt us and to make something good out of it,” said Malissia Clinton.

The Clintons may have been targeted because they’re black. Their old, charred door has been placed at the Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture.

The family gave $35,000 in donations, raised by the community, to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation. The money will be used to train local teachers about hidden bias, and provide student and teacher grants for social inclusion programs.

“To take this personal incident and make it good for so many more is just so honorable, and so commendable,” said Hilary Mahan of the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation.

“We  want students and teachers to think creatively about how you target the issue of race, without making someone feel uncomfortable,”  said Malissia Clinton, “but really getting at the heart of the matter, which is that a lot of this is hidden within us. If you were the idiot who started this fire, look at what’s resulted from it.”

The Clintons have made changes to their home, including a more secure gate and door. Security cameras have been installed.

No arrests have been made in the attack.

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