It was, on the surface, just a little thing.
A kind note left in a neighbor’s mailbox. But these days, kindness can seem in short supply. So the note, from Westwood residents to their Muslim neighbors, went viral.
Posted on Twitter shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, the note assured Abubaker Amry’s family that “you are welcome in our neighborhood.”
It was heartening to see such an example of neighborliness and kindness. And just as heartening to see how others spread the good word – it was amplified by social media hundreds of thousands of times through retweets and “likes.”
“Today begins a new stage for our country,” the note began. Unwritten, but understood, was what this “new stage” could bring for Amry’s family – Muslim Americans who trace their roots to Libya -- and others like them. Many Muslims, blacks, Hispanics and other minorities have expressed fear, dread and worry about the tone of a Trump presidency and what it might mean for them.
We understand their fear. We’ve seen it. Just in recent days, swastikas and anti-gay graffiti was spray painted at Withrow High School and a swastika was painted on a sign at Hebrew Union College.
There are few symbols more hate-filled than the Nazi swastika. But there are many other ways that people of color, minorities and others can be made to feel unwanted, unaccepted and unheard.
As a news organization, WCPO will call out instances of intimidation and intolerance. They should never be accepted in our community or anywhere. With our editorial voice, we will champion the rights of those who are targeted with hate and speak out for tolerance and acceptance.
There’s something you can do too. You can support neighbors, co-workers and anyone else you know who may be fearful and uncomfortable in these divisive times.
Go out of your way to express a kind word, write a reassuring note. Just like the Westwood people did.
It’s just a little thing. But it could have a big impact.