This week, a mom in Lapeer, Michigan named Erin M. Zettle woke up to a terrible sight: someone had vandalized her family’s home, spray-painting a swastika on their front door. Of course, the ugly symbol of hate and racism brought tears to Erin’s eyes. Her first reaction was to scrub the paint off the door or paint over it… but then she had another idea.
Instead of scrubbing the swastika off, Erin decided to take a photo of it to bring awareness to her community. Next, Erin decided to cover the symbol with a message of her own: a sign with an inspiring quote from the Harry Potter headmaster, Dumbledore. That message—along with Erin’s post, shared below—is going viral.
There was fear and rage and disbelief, while I wondered who could have done it and do they know me and was it religious or political or just nasty? And I cried, and cried.
The thing is- this isn’t my community. This is happening in my community, but I will not judge my community based on the worst of actions.
I went to the basement and rounded up a tarp and a paintbrush and some paint, and then I changed my mind. I decided that some random idiot was not going to make me paint my door and I wanted to answer back. (Look, usually blind optimism and this level of naivete make me a little nauseous, too.)
(To be honest, what I wanted to do was to correct the graffiti with some red spray paint, because that swastika is backwards, and you should double check your hate speech before you paint it.)
But what I really want is for people to see that this happened in our community. It happened to someone they know. And so maybe the next time they hear something in line at the grocery store they will say “no, thank you…not here, not today, not ever.”
But also, there is enough really awful hate talk in the world. And maybe not enough Dumbledore. Any suggestions on a quote for tomorrow? Edited to add: We are all okay. Also, I am all calm right now but if they lay a finger on my dog I will end them.
What an inspiring response to hatred!
Erin has decided to keep the poster up on her door. In fact, she now plans to regularly change out the quote based on suggestions from Facebook friends.
Currently, the door boasts a beautiful quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.