Racism-fueled Responses to Anti-Racist Yard Signs

Written by Phung Huynh

Since the summer of 2020, the Anti-Racism Committee of South Pasadena has brought together residents who are committed to uncovering and disabling systemic racism in our city. We have mobilized and now continue to work in collaboration with community groups with shared values, including Black Lives Matter South Pasadena and Care First in strategic actions that address inequities in policing, public safety, education, and community care. Recently, the Anti-racism Committee embarked on a lawn sign project that made clear to our city that we actively stand against racism. ARC members added words and expressions to pre-made lawn signs that reinforced our anti-racist position and began to display them on inauguration day. Many of these lawn signs are still up with powerful words that complete the prompt, “I stand against racism because…”

It poisons our community and must be uprooted.

Protecting whiteness kills people.

We are a multi-race, multi-ethnic, multi-faith family.

South Pasadena was a sundown town.

Trump was the symptom, not the disease. The fight against white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism, and the modern-day slavery of the prison industrial complex is NOT OVER.

[More examples of the lawn signs can be seen on: https://arcsouthpasadena.org/i-stand-agains-racism-because/]

Recently, some of our members have seen a backlash to the ARC lawn sign project. Someone wrote on the sidewalk in front of one member’s house, “#Beijing Biden.” Another ARC member shared that “[s]omeone has repeatedly left litter, including dog droppings, a used mask, bottle caps, and a toilet seat cover in front of my sign. We remove these items and other litter reappears, usually early in the morning.  Is anyone else having this experience… I’ve noticed bottle caps and debris around a neighbor’s BLM sign on the median.  My goal was to leave the sign up through Black History Month.” This member’s lawn sign read, “I stand against racism because I did not learn to hate in Sunday School.”

How do we respond to such vile actions when our purpose is to foster an inclusive and safe community for all residents through an anti-racist lens? Informing the police is not necessarily the solution because being pro-police and calling out racism do not go hand-in-hand. Our city is not immune to the toxic repercussions of racism, and the decision to display these lawn signs on January 20 was intentional and brave. The last presidential administration dangerously gave agency to white nationalism and white supremacy that resulted in a surge in hate crimes, anti-immigrant policies, and marginalization of BIPOC communities. To turn a blind eye or deny that racism exists is irresponsible and detrimental. We saw the dire consequences play out on January 6, when our Capitol was stormed by emboldened white nationalists who staged an insurrection that threatened our lawmakers and the peaceful transition of power. We also saw pro-Trump supporters take over our corner on Fair Oaks and Mission on November 1 and assaulted some of our social justice activist youth.

Racism is the root cause of inequity that we face in our larger society and in our immediate community. Racism allows discrimination and hate to fester and infiltrate the most essential means from housing, fair wages, education, and public safety. It is critical that we continue our work, but this is brave work. We run the risk of being harassed, threatened, and become recipients of the most egregious acts. It is during these times that I call on you to remember the most honorable, John Lewis, and remember the “good trouble” we have to make.

Hate Crimes Reporting

PROVIDER: 211 LA COUNTY 211 LA County provides hate crimes reporting for people of all ages in Los Angeles County. Specialized services include the Anti Hate Reporting Hotline for the County of Los Angeles. There are no geographic restrictions.

The Anti Hate Reporting Hotline takes reports (by phone or online) of hate crimes, hate acts, and incidents of bullying which have occurred within Los Angeles County; regardless of whether or not a crime has been committed.

Community Resource Advisors collect reports regarding hate crimes, hate incidents, and bias motivated behavior. By filing a report as a victim, witness, or advocate for a victim of hate crimes, hate acts, or bullying, reporters will be referred to resources in their local community and have the option to receive personalized follow up from a 211 care coordinator. Reported information can be submitted anonymously and will help identify areas in need of resources such as education and crime prevention. For those that prefer to report online, an online reporting form is available at https://211la.org/la-vs-hate APPLICATION PROCEDURE Call or visit the agency’s website for service FEES/PAYMENT SOURCE There are no fees for services.

This article represents the views and opinions of the author solely and does not express the opinions of all ARC members.

The ARC Community Board is meant to be a collaborative community space. If you are interested in having something posted here, please email arc.southpasadena@gmail.com.

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