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Chicago's 'Hate Has No Home Here' Spreads In Virginia After Violent Weekend

By Patty Wetli | August 15, 2017 12:58pm
 Organizers in Virginia say the campaign's message is more important now than ever.
Organizers in Virginia say the campaign's message is more important now than ever.
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Facebook/Hate Has No Home Here

NORTH PARK — Nearly a year after the "Hate Has No Home Here" campaign was born in the living rooms of North Park neighbors to promote tolerance and confront hatred, the simple message is finding renewed relevance after a violent weekend in Charlottesville, Va., that left one woman dead after a clash between white supremacists and anti-racist demonstrators.

Kimberly Lauter has just organized a Charlottesville offshoot of the Hate Has No Home Here project, launching a GoFundMe (click here) to cover the cost of printing and distributing signs with the campaign's slogan.

Lauter's goal is to "help spread a message of tolerance and inclusion in Charlottesville yard to yard," according to her GoFundMe page.

"On the day of the events in Charlottesville, I was looking for something that reflected the pride I have for Charlottesville and the deep sadness I have for the hatred that had entered our town," Lauter told DNAinfo via email.

"This campaign seemed to embody what I was feeling. I wished I could have had the sign immediately to display as the alt-right/neo nazi groups were leaving our town after the destruction," she said.

"My hope is that these signs pop up on hundreds of lawns in Charlottesville to indicate, in one of many ways, that hatred is not welcomed back," Lauter said.

Before Lauter's project, Emily Taylor had been running a one-woman "Hate Has No Home Here" campaign in Fredericksburg, Va. — an hour and a half northeast of Charlottesville.

Throughout the winter and spring, she distributed nearly 75 signs printed with the slogan, but the momentum behind the movement had begun to wane, Taylor said.

"I was even thinking of shutting down the [GoFundMe] site," she said. "The events in Charlottesville changed that."

Taylor said she received more donations and requests for the campaign's blue and red signs between Sunday and Monday than in nearly all the months prior.

"We really need to show that in Virginia, in Fredericksburg, we really need to show that hate has no home here," said Taylor, an elementary school teacher.

Taylor took 10 of her Hate Has No Home Here signs to a rally on Sunday, and lined the sidewalk with the message.

"So many people were honking and waving, being supportive," she said. "It's nice to know you're not alone in your community."

With the funds that have poured in in recent days, Taylor plans to print at least 100 more signs to distribute around Fredericksburg.

"The local businesses haven't adopted it. I'd like to see that change," she said.

Hate Has No Home Here was founded by a group of North Park neighbors. [DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

Taylor first came across the Hate Has No Home Here sign at January's Women's March in Washington, D.C.

The teacher in her, who emphasizes positive messages with her students, initially bristled at what she considered the campaign's negative phrasing. But the more she thought about the message, the more she realized its impact.

"You know, this actually is important to say 'no' to hate," Taylor said. "If you say nothing, you're speaking volumes with your silence."

Raised in a liberal town in Oregon, Taylor said she grew up talking politics, but broadcasting her beliefs by planting a Hate Has No Home Here sign in her Fredericksburg lawn gave her pause.

"I was a little nervous. There are neighbors who have confederate flags. Putting a symbol in my yard that is the opposite was scary — I didn't know if it would be confronted with more hate," Taylor said.

"I think making any statement in your community is a small act of bravery," she said. "We all need to commit small and large acts of bravery."

Carmen Rodriguez, one of the North Park neighbors who founded the Hate Has No Home Here project, said the "heartbreaking scenes from Charlottesville remind us that hate is very real."

"It is never more important than when we are confronted with hate to remain firm in our rejection of its language, its behavior and its intentions," she said.

"Our signs are simple, yes, but the message is not just that one person rejects hate," Rodriguez said. "The message is that we stand together in rejecting hate, we affirm one another and we will not back down.”

Hate Has No Home Here artwork is available for free download on the project's website.