DC residents post multilingual 'glad you're our neighbor' signs
WASHINGTON (WJLA) - After an election, yard signs usually come down. But in one Northwest D.C. neighborhood, some new ones have been popping up lately.
In Petworth, multi-colored signs recently started appearing featuring a message in multiple languages.
In response to 2016 campaign rhetoric about Mexicans and Muslims, some residents have posted the yard signs that read: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”
The message is written in Spanish, English and Arabic.
“This resident, this individual, this household accepts you as our neighbor. That's what it means," Drew Schneider, editor of the Petworth News blog, said.
Schneider and some other Petworth residents have made a few signs. Now, they’re printing hundreds more and selling them to neighbors.
So far, they have sold 350 signs. They're now even getting calls from out of state.
“There were people in LA I got an email from this morning,” he said.
Schneider said he will only distribute the signs locally to keep costs low, but he is sharing a PDF file of the message so others out of state can use it.
The idea for these signs originated at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. "We're excited to see so many people and communities naming and living the importance of loving our neighbors," Pastor Matthew Bucher said.
Schneider said whatever funds are raised beyond the cost of sign production will be donated to Ayuda. The local organization connects immigrants with legal and social services.
“We're really grateful for the donations associated, but also just for the sentiment," Ayuda Executive Director Paula Fitzgerald said.
After the election, Fitzgerald said many immigrants don't feel welcome and fear for their families.
“I think it does make a difference for those people who go by, and they see [the sign] written in their language. I imagine that will make people feel a little bit better,” Fitzgerald said.
Schneider acknowledges critics will probably dismiss this as a silly liberal cause, but he said it’s easy to be cynical.
“You can be cynical about anything,” he said. “But sometimes, it helps just to see the positive.”