Connie Fritsche of Flossmoor got excited when a friend in Evanston told her about a special “Hate Has No Home Here” sign campaign begun after the contentious presidential election.
“I wanted a sign badly but I didn’t want to drive to Evanston, so I floated an idea to local community members about having a batch printed for the H-F area,” she recalled.
The yard and window signs feature an American flag imbedded in a heart. The phrase “Hate Has No Home Here” came from a third grader and a kindergartener. It is featured in bold type in English, as well as in Arabic, Urdu, Korean, Hebrew and Spanish.
“’Hate Has No Home Here’ is a simple but powerful statement — one I hope our community can rally behind,” Fritsche said.
When she began asking friends what they thought of the idea, Yvonne Oldaker of Homewood became an energetic supporter and contacted a local printer. Ryan Crabtree agreed to help facilitate yard sign printing and Kevin Kempe is coordinating the 11-by-17-inch poster printing.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Fritsche set up a GoFundMe account. After four days, the account had nearly $800. Ten days later, the account met its $1,600 goal to cover printing 150 signs.
Fritsche said after Donald Trump’s win in the presidential election many people are concerned about what is ahead.
For her, two principles are essential:
“It’s important to visibly and vocally reaffirm our commitment to supporting an environment where people of different races, religions, identities and backgrounds feel welcome and safe, and to unequivocally state that hate has no place in our homes, schools and neighborhoods,” she stressed.
Today she finds there are some who “feel emboldened to shamelessly act on their racist and bigoted instincts. It’s necessary always, but especially in this moment, to state clearly that we can have differences of opinion, but hate–hateful acts, hateful rhetoric–will not be tolerated.
“And it’s necessary to let those among us who feel threatened or unsafe know that we have their backs,” she said.
“The second principle is that my voice and actions — no matter how small — make a difference. Coasting is not an option; I need to be actively involved with the causes and organizations that are important to me, even if my efforts are imperfect,” she stressed.
“The quote I keep going back to is this: ‘Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.’
“Coordinating yard signs is just one small thing I can do to proclaim and ensure that this is the kind of community where I want my family to live,” Fritsche said.
The GoFundMe account has a suggested $12 donation to cover the cost of each sign. Fritsche said anyone who donates will be notified when the signs are ready for pick-up in the Homewood-Flossmoor area.
“Donors have been very generous, with many giving more than enough to cover the costs of the signs they have requested,” she said. “Ideally, we’ll have enough funding in the end to make sure everyone who wants a sign will get one, regardless of donation amount.”
Fritsche invites H-F residents wanting a yard sign to visit the GoFundMe campaign page: https://www.gofundme.com/jt-hate-has-no-home-here-yard-signs. The site has information about the initiative and a sign-up/donation form.