‘Hate has no home here’ campaign, started in North Park, goes viral
A message coined by one Chicago child and held aloft by another is inspiring a viral campaign against hate.
The “Hate has no home here” poster, bright blue and featuring its message in six languages below a heart-shaped American flag, has been plastered throughout Chicago and requested by people living as far away as Sweden and Ecuador.
Last weekend, the phrase was on a handmade cardboard sign in a photo that went viral. In the photo, taken during a protest at O’Hare International Airport against the Trump administration’s recent immigration ban barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries, a 9-year-old child, wearing a kippah, sits on his father’s shoulders and holds a sign reading, “Hate has no home here.” He grins at a 7-year-old Muslim girl, also sitting on her own father’s shoulders and wearing a black hijab, with a sign reading, “Love.”
It all began last fall, when North Park residents wanted a peaceful poster to hang in windows. They agreed it should counter the divisive nature of the conversation surrounding the presidential election. The slogan “Hate has no home here” was suggested by a third-grader. (His family asked to remain anonymous to protect the child’s privacy.)
“It’s very telling, actually, that the phrase and the sentiment came from children,” said Carmen Rodriguez, president of the Hollywood-North Park Community Association. “As adults, we’ve become immune to the idea that there is bigotry, there is hatred, there is ugliness in the word. Children don’t get that.”
North Park resident and designer Steven Luce designed the poster, and neighbors quickly printed and posted them — in Albany Park, West Ridge, Rogers Park.
Social media attention then crashed the North Park association’s website.
Now, the group cannot keep up with requests for the posters — 8,000 so far. Stateside, requests flow in from North Carolina and Texas and Arizona. The group has printed 5,000 posters and 900 yard signs, and this doesn’t include quantities printed by other organizations, such as Albany Park Neighbors.
“To see something I helped create become a rallying point against racism and intolerance is more than a little overwhelming,” Luce said in an email. “It gives me hope.”
A limited quantity of posters is available for free, thanks to donations. More than $12,000 has been raised via GoFundMe. The designs also are available as free downloads for those who would like to print their own posters, yard signs or bumper stickers.
Fostering communication among communities is one of the goals of the campaign. In North Park, children have peers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. The local school, Mary Gage Peterson Elementary, has 920 students who speak 43 languages at home.
“Part of diversity is different perspectives,” Rodriguez said. “That doesn’t mean we have to be unkind to one another. … The discourse can be fair-minded and thoughtful and reasonable and straight down the middle in terms of how we feel about each other.”
Although the posters have been hoisted at protests, they were created for no specific political party or cause.
“The colors are the colors of the flag,” Rodriguez said. “It was claiming our country, not claiming a side.”