YULEE, Fla. – The Sproul family put up posters of twins Xanah and Xarah in front of their Timber Creek Plantation home like any other proud family celebrating their own 2020 graduates.
But Thursday, they received an anonymous letter in the mail.
It reads: “Resident: Don’t you think enough is enough? It’s time to take those hideous posters of that ugly fat black girl down off your house. What a disgrace to the neighborhood. In fact, your entire brood is a disgrace to the neighborhood. Consider moving to a “hood” of your kind. Your neighbors are watching you!”
Xanah and Xarah Sproul are straight-A students who graduated from Yulee High School with a variety of accomplishments: members of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and VyStar program. The twins were also section leaders in the marching band. They are set to attend Saint Leo University on scholarship in the fall, both on Friday receiving four-year “Tipping the Scale” scholarships from the Boys and Girls Club.
Given the joyous and celebratory nature of the graduation posters, parents David and Toya Sproul were shocked to receive the letter in the mail.
“I thought he was kidding because he’s a comedian,” Toya Sproul said. “He was like, ‘I wouldn’t joke and say that about them,’ and I snatched the letter, and I’m like, ‘Oh,’ and I called the police right away.”
In-tune with the current racial tension in the nation, the Sprouls still never thought they would see a product of that divisiveness in their own front yard.
"You see all the things happening all across the country," David Sproul said. "It's one thing when it's across the country, but it's absolutely different when it's literally in your own yard, literally in your own house."
The letter is unsigned and typed, and while the author says they live in the Timber Creek neighborhood, the letter was mailed from Jacksonville.
While the Sprouls are still reeling from what they call cowardly anonymity, they said the love from the community has far outweighed the negative message. Over the past day, people have been stopping by, waving and honking and some have dropped off cards.
“I stopped by just to show our support as a neighborhood,” neighbor Rowdy Griffin said. “You know, the actual thing going on it is complete garbage. The letter that they received does not speak for this neighborhood at all, you know we’re a pretty positive neighborhood. We all come together for each other, and I just want to show my support for them.”
Griffin said he and his wife are in the process of making signs for the neighborhood for everyone to put in their yards that say the neighborhood stands with the Sprouls and is "Timber Creek Strong."
"We know we have a great support system and everyone is on our side so we will get over it and get justice," Xanah said.
The Sprouls said the phone calls and well wishes have been endless, and they are thankful for the support, but they still hope the police can find out whoever sent the letter.
David and Toya reported it and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office said it is looking into it.
The final line of the letter, “Your neighbors are watching you,” worries the Sprouls for their safety. They want police to investigate it as a hate crime.
As of now, the report News4Jax received from the Sheriff’s Office said police have filed it as a threats and harassment incident.
“We love everybody,” Toya said. “We’ve raised our kids that way, which is why they’re really not that bothered by it. Because we’re not gonna return hate, we’re not gonna retaliate in that way.”