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Anti-Hate Signs To Blanket Lincoln Square In Response To Racist Graffiti

By Patty Wetli | September 29, 2017 8:25am
 A rally is set for Sunday, with volunteers fanning out to spread 3,000 anti-hate signs in the area.
A rally is set for Sunday, with volunteers fanning out to spread 3,000 anti-hate signs in the area.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

LINCOLN SQUARE — Lincoln Square residents are responding to a second spate of hate graffiti in the neighborhood with not one but 3,000 messages for the perpetrators.

After a number of pro-diversity signs were defaced by vandals, a group of neighbors ordered 3,000 "Hate Has No Home Here" and Black Lives Matter signs, which they plan to distribute throughout the area on Sunday.

"Our goal is to blanket the neighborhood, drowning out the negative graffiti," said Jason Rieger, who also organized a rally against hate speech in late August after incidents of white supremacist graffiti in Lincoln Square.

"What we want to do is in every case have an immediate response that this is not OK. We're not going to let it be the new normal," Rieger said.

Community members are invited to join in the effort, which will kick off at 11 a.m. at Waters Elementary, 4500 N. Campbell Ave.

Rieger estimates enough signs have been printed to cover 100 to 200 blocks within the 40th and 47th wards. Volunteers will be assigned to distribute signs along a block, or blocks, of their choosing on a first-come first-served basis.

A unity rally has been planned for noon, before volunteers fan out with their signs. In addition to local officials, expected speakers include Jeff Zacharias, whose home was a target of racist graffiti, and Andre Vasquez of the activist organization Chicago Progress.

Representatives from Reclaim Chicago and Indivisible Lincoln Square also will be on hand to provide information on ways that people can get involved within the community beyond rallies and marches, Rieger said.

"The rally and the event are a way to engage people for future action. Our goal is to work for lasting change," he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to collect donations to help defray the cost of printing the signs.