It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’ve joined the Local Love Brigade to help counter hate with love. The Local Love Brigade – Vermont maintains a list of people who’ve been victimized by hate crimes, a list that’s been growing since the election of Donald Trump.
In the week following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented more than 700 instances of “hateful harassment,” across the country, including in Vermont. Swastikas were scrawled on the door of Havurah House in Middlebury and on a Trump sign near Hillel House at the University of Vermont; and “F*** MUSLIMS#TRUMP2016” was written on a whiteboard outside a Middlebury College dorm room occupied by two Muslim students.
Instead of flowers and chocolate for people who already know I love them, I’m drawing hearts on postcards and sending messages of love to some of the people who have been victims of this kind of hate. First, I’m sending love to Vermonters who’ve been targeted in this nasty political climate where bigots have been emboldened to:
- Repeatedly steal Black Lives Matter signs from the front yard of a man in Monkton;
- Write hateful messages scrawled on the car of an ESL teacher in Vernon;
- Publish and distribute anti-Semitic flyers at Burlington City Council Meeting.
After sending Valentines to Vermonters who’ve been targeted, I’m sending hearts and love to others on the list published by the Local Love Brigade – Vermont.
I was astounded by this list, both by how long it is and because I’d not known of these events, even though I’ve tuned back into the news after a post-election blackout for my mental health. I learned that while I wasn’t paying attention
- three waves of bomb threats were called in to over 30 Jewish community centers around the country;
- Swastikas have defaced Jewish-affiliated buildings in Sarasota, Florida; in Esperance, New York; and Cincinnati, Ohio;
- A mosque was burned down in Bellevue, Washington;
- Neo-Nazi graffiti defaced the sign at a mosque in Peoria, Illinois;
- A racial slur was painted on the garage door of an interracial couple in Stamford, Connecticut;
- The Islamic Center at Davis at the University of California was vandalized;
- A Muslim airline worker was attacked at JFK airport in New York City;
- A mosque was burned in Victoria, Texas.
Unfortunately, the list grows daily.
Fortunately, sending a postcard of love is easy. All you need is a 4 x 6 index card, some markers and a 34-cent stamp. We’re encouraged to post photos of our Love Brigade Postcards to Facebook and join the group. #LocalLoveBrigade #Spread the love #LoveTrumpsHate
Roses and chocolate are all very nice, but in the end, roses wilt and chocolate melts. Stories last as long as they’re told.
I’ll happily email you a short story to create change every week; just subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box at the right, then check your inbox to confirm that you’re a reader and not a robot.
You can also read my award-winning novel, Into the Wilderness, a love story relevant to our times. Into the Wilderness tells the story of Rose Mayer, a twice-widowed New York immigrant who’s also a union card carrying Democrat, and Percy Mendell, a dyed-in-the-wool Vermont Republican. The two meet in small town Vermont in 1964 and clash over national politics: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and civil rights before finding common ground in music, aging, tomatoes, and love.
Happy Valentine’s Day.