A subway stop of the New York City subway, one of the world's oldest public transportation system

Subway Swastikas In New York Taken Down By Passengers In Act Against Racism

On Saturday evening, a man called Gregory Locke boarded a subway train in New York City only to find that all of the windows and advertisements in the car had been vandalized. Swastikas, marked in black Sharpie, covered the whole car, and on the glass covering a subway map, someone had written down the words, “Jews belong in the oven.” Locke, according to ABC News, had boarded a 1 train that was heading towards 72nd street.

Locke later chronicled the whole event in a Facebook post. He describes the palpable tension in the subway car as everyone was silent and unsure of what to do. After awhile, a man got up and said to everyone that “hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie.” The man began to get to work with some tissues and alcohol to get rid of the anti-Semitic messages.

A flurry of action erupted, Locke says, as everyone began to dig into their bags and pockets to look for tissues and Purell. People started joining in and within a few minutes, all of the swastikas, a symbol that has become inextricably synonymous with fascism and the Nazi party, were gone.

However, even though the subway swastikas have been erased by the communal efforts of the passengers, there remains the discomfiting truth that a surge of intolerance and racism has begun to manifest themselves in ugly ways these days.

Locke recounts that one of the passengers commented, “I guess this is Trump’s America.” In his post, Locke fights against this increasingly hostile vision of America.

“No sir, it’s not. Not tonight and not ever. Not as long as stubborn New Yorkers have anything to say about it.”

Locke’s Facebook post has struck a chord on social media. Posted at 8:02 p.m on Saturday, February 4, the post has since garnered around 472,000 reactions and 327,367 shares. The comments underneath the post has generally been supportive, with many applauding the actions of the passengers as brave and inspiring.

On the opposing side, some commenters are denouncing the subway swastikas incident as a hoax, while others are asserting that racism has always been part of the country’s history and that it didn’t just start with the Donald Trump presidency. Although most would agree that anti-Semitism should be condemned, there is less agreement over whether or not President Donald Trump, who has generated much controversy over some of his executive orders, like his suspension of entry of citizens from several Muslim-dominant countries, is responsible for inciting bigotry among the populace.

Support over the actions taken by the New York passengers in erasing the subway swastikas have been, regardless, predominantly positive. On Twitter, Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, tweeted a screenshot of Gregory Locke’s original Facebook post, along with words of encouragement.

“We will not let hate win. And, another reason to carry hand sanitizer.”

According to People, both Chelsea and Hilary Clinton have been vocal these past few days in their protest against President Donald Trump and his administration’s new policies, including his immigration ban and his plans for erecting a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The former first daughter attended a demonstration at Battery Park on January 29 to protest Trump’s Muslim ban. In a tweet, Chelsea Clinton wrote about fighting to protect the values and ideals of the United States.

Hilary Clinton has also expressed her objections to Trump’s executive orders on Twitter and has on previous occasions also showed her support towards the women’s march.

[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

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