Hate has no home here, declares a yard sign with a red, white, and blue heart at the top. The words are repeated beneath in five different languages. At a glance, it would appear to be an inclusive message, and a kind one — but not everyone sees it that way, clearly.
An editorial in the Winchester Times addressed this recently, discussing a recent letter to the editor regarding “Hate has no home here” signs and stickers the Winchester Massachusetts Multicultural Network had encouraged residents to place in their yards and windows.
While a search of the site doesn’t yield the original letter, the editorial describes it as expressing that the writer felt “personally insulted” and as calling those who place the signs and stickers on their property “snowflakes.”
However, the writer, apparently one John Natale, appears to be a frequent writer to the Winchester Times, with multiple letters from him printed, including one from 2011 about the necessity of defeating Obama in the 2012 election and one last month regarding a proposed playing field for local youth. The paper will print only one letter per month from the same individual.
However, it wasn’t the editorial about Mr. Natale’s letter that went viral — it was another letter, this one from a seventh grader, responding to Natale’s concerns about the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs.
“Mr. John Natale’s colossal misunderstanding of the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs”
the young writer responds firmly, describing the United States as,
“…a country that does not tolerate hate in spite of its current leadership.”
He goes on to address Mr. Natale’s questions one by one, including,
“Question: “Who are the haters that you, the sign owner, are referring to?” Answer: Bigots who are trying to take away protections for transgender students, deport refugees and build a very expensive wall to keep illegal immigrants out (which is completely pointless and not helping your cause, but I digress).”
“Question: “What is the evidence that there is significant hate in our community?” Answer: Me getting called homosexual slurs by students and adults alike.”
The student also suggests that if Mr. Natale wants others to take down their “Hate Has No Home Here” signs, he should reciprocate by taking down his own “Trump 2016” signs.
In closing, the writer delivers this jab:
“…if you are going to say signs exhibit ‘snowflake sensitivity,’ take a moment to think about how you are writing an angry letter to a newspaper about a lawn sign.”
You can read the full letter here.
It’s gone especially viral since Massachusetts ACLU attorney Matthew Segal tweeted a photo of the print version, netting tens of thousands of likes and retweets.
Local paper published a letter criticizing "Hate Has No Home Here" signs.
This response from a *7th grader* is ????. pic.twitter.com/dTJWel2azV
— Matthew Segal (@segalmr) April 29, 2017
The Hate Has No Home Here campaign asks that the signs be used in a nonpartisan way, to declare that hate speech and discrimination will not be tolerated, and credits a third grader and kindergartener for the slogan — so it’s not just middle grades students who can use words to speak up for diversity and acceptance.
The signs closely mirror several other campaigns for diversity, such as the ones reading “No hate in our state” that the Missoulian reports were distributed in Montana earlier this year, and signs that have been used in anti-Trump protests across the nation, with slogans like “Hate is not great.”
Many of these reflect the widespread concern that Donald Trump’s rhetoric, campaign promises, and political actions promote hate speech and discriminatory treatment of minorities. CNN reported in December on widespread hate crimes and racist or anti-Semitic graffiti and incidents since the election.
A sign reading “Hate has no home here” won’t undo legislation — but for those who have been made to feel excluded or unwelcome, it’s a very good sign.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]