Monday, June 1
After peaceful protests in downtown Naperville, some opportunistic thugs started vandalizing and looting businesses. Many windows were smashed and a lot of merchandise and supplies were taken.
Tuesday, June 2
Community volunteers came out to help with the cleanup. A few young teenage girls taped paper hearts on some of the plywood that had been put up in place of broken windows. Some of the hearts had the letters “BLM” (standing for Black Lives Matter) written on them. As they worked, an old white man got out of his car to shake his finger and yell, “This is a good city and you want to ruin it.”
(With small paper hearts? Seriously?)
While he was busy frothing at the mouth, several white women went up to the plywood, tore the paper hearts down, and contributed their own verbal abuse.
Those young girls were speaking out against injustice in a peaceful way that harmed no one.
Their harassers were nothing more than hate-filled bullies. But something good emerged from their bile. Numerous people from Naperville posted their support for the girls and their condemnation of the privileged middle-aged and old white people who felt threatened by young people speaking up for justice and love. Not too threatened, though. At least they felt comfortable tormenting children.
Wednesday, June 3
In reaction to this event, many more people gathered in Naperville on June 3rd to post more paper hearts. Several Naperville businesses have joined in by inviting people to post hearts at their locations. My heart is full—both for the young people’s resilience and courage and for the adults who support them and their cause.
If you want to show your support and your circumstances will allow it in the time of COVID-19, consider visiting some of these businesses:
- Apple Store
- Anderson’s Books
- Starbucks Reserve
- Mongolian Grill
- Jimmy Johns
- Ikkai Sushi
- Coldstone Creamery
- Kilwins Creamery
- Jackson Ave Pub
- Smoothie King
- Red Mango
- (or any others where you see these message hearts posted)
Of course, spending money at retail establishments and restaurants is pretty easy to do when you’re in a comfortable position. There’s some real work ahead of all of us. Not everyone can do everything, but we all must do what we can. As Desmond Tutu advised:
Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
And realize, as Tutu also said:
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
This information comes from the Facebook page, 365 Things to Do in Naperville, Illinois. A video link to Wednesday’s activities is here: https://www.facebook.com/Naperville365/videos/257602402233749