Four days after an African-American woman awoke to “White Power,” swastikas and profanity scribbled on her garage door, she rose to find her property surrounded with a different kind of message: neon signs that read “Here with love,” “Hate will never be comfortable! We stand united in fight to end racism,” and hand-drawn hearts, which stood tall around the front and back sides of her townhome on the 7700 block of Harvard.

“A few days earlier I kind of felt like I was on an island, like ‘Why me? Why single me out?’… [With] the outpouring and the outreach of support I feel very, very well connected to the community even though I was anonymous,” she said. “I feel really good that people still care about their community, and they were seeking out where this happened. We want to shut this [hate speech] down, know this is not acceptable.”

She thanked neighbors for reaching out to make sure she felt safe and Suburban Unity Alliance, an Oak Park-based group that showcases diversity and raises awareness about discrimination in suburban communities. She said SUA signed some of the signs they posted.

Nona Tepper

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