A weekend before last Celia Rothenberg and her husband took a familiar shortcut through the schoolyard of St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary in Hamilton and found graffiti on the grounds. While it is not unusual to see a tag, or a bit of street art, these were nothing creative in the least, they found themselves confronted with messages of hate. Scrawled across doors and the blacktop in yellow chalk were swastikas and swear words, along with racial and anti-Semitic slurs.
Sadly, this is not surprising, statistics show that hate crimes have been on the rise of late all across the country. Fortunately Rothenberg, a Jewish Studies professor at McMaster University, was unsure of the best course of action, so she logged on to Facebook and posted some pictures of the graffiti in a group called Dundas Moms Network looking for advice or aid. What happened next? That’s where this becomes your Good News Story of the Day.
Leave it to the moms to come clean up the mess others have left. A few moms on the page agreed the language needed to go and so they grabbed some sponges and water and walked over to the school to “minimize the distress” the graffiti could cause. Katharine Spencer was one of the moms who answered the call to come clean up and she explained “The longer it stays up the more it can possibly give ideas to other people to join in.”
Sajah Stiller came along too. “As Canadians have this idea that it doesn’t happen here, we’re nice people,” said Stiller. “But we have racism … homophobia, antisemitism [they’re] all are alive and well in our society. If we don’t speak up about these things they continue to happen.”
These mothers were able to clear up the yellow chalk, all they left behind was a yellow smear where hateful words and symbols once were, but it will take quite a bit more to clean up the culture that created them. There’s an important message here; to do more than just complain when you are encountered with hate. To truly see a difference you must act. That’s what the moms did in your Good News Story of the Day which you can find more on here. Follow their lead and stand up and act against hate in all of its forms when ever you find it in this world and in time we will have a better place to raise our children.
Story and Image from the CBC.