Spreading the Message of Tolerance — One Sign at a Time

An example of one of the signs created by North Park Neighbors, Chicago, Illinois.

An example of one of the signs created by North Park Neighbors, Chicago, Illinois.

“Hate has no home here” — powerful words written by two elementary school students in North Park, a neighborhood in Chicago characterized by its diversity. The students’ message — in English and five other languages — is now plastered on posters throughout their school, and, thanks to a small group of community members, on yard signs throughout the North Park neighborhood. The signs are red on one side and blue on the other, denoting that the message crosses party lines.

In our interconnected world, fueled by social media, this movement has spread across the country and beyond. “Hate Has No Home Here” even has its own Facebook and GoFundMe pages. And soon, over 600 signs carrying this message will be adorning lawns in Glenside and in other neighborhoods in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

The person behind this local influx of signs is Kate Thomson, a marketing consultant with two young children, living in Glenside. “I’ve never done any sort of activism before,” says Thomson, “but I’ve been both heartbroken and incredibly energized by the campaigns, the election results and the events that have unfolded since. I’m coordinating the printing, purchase and distribution of this batch of signs — sort of a one-woman show.”

Kate Thomson

Kate Thomson

This project evolved after Thomson received some signs from a neighbor and began fielding requests for more. At that point, she decided to take the initiative and coordinate another print run. When she posted information about the sign printing campaign online to members of the former BuxMont chapter of Pantsuit Nation, demand for the signs exploded. Within 48 hours, 618 signs were ordered.

“I hope people who most need to receive this message, who are most frightened of our current state of affairs, will see the signs and be reminded that not everyone is against them, that there are tolerant people living amongst us,” says Thomson.

Jill Zipin, a Montgomery County resident who purchased a sign, supported Thomson’s efforts by further circulating her post on social media. Zipin is a vice president of JSPAN (Jewish Social Policy Action Network) and a founding member of Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania. For her, the “Hate Has No Home Here” movement “says to Trump and his supporters that we reject your campaign of division and intolerance and that America is, and should always be, a melting pot where the immigrant is welcomed and people of all faiths and races are welcomed.”

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