Politics

One Creative Way Philly Moms Are Responding to Hate

A group of Philadelphia mothers has responded to an anti-Semitic hate crime with chalk, turning a swastika drawn on a neighborhood park bench into a window.

 

Beth Huxta, a mother who lives in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown, was alarmed on Friday afternoon when she saw a swastika painted on a park bench where her toddler likes to play, local news site Billy Penn reported. Huxta told ATTN: via email that she was not the first person to discover the swastika on the bench, and that some moms in the neighborhood saw it on the bench prior to the election. 

The swastika was swiftly painted over by someone else, but Huxta and fellow members of a Facebook group for Fishtown moms teamed up to draw windows in the area surrounding the bench. The mothers were inspired by a scene in season four of the Netflix series, "Orange is the New Black," in which a female prisoner gets branded with a swastika against her will and one of her fellow inmates turns the mark into a window to make her feel better.

 

A photo posted by Beth (@bethhuxta) on

 

 

News of the window drawing comes at a time of rising hate crimes and anti-Semitic expression in our country.

Following the election of Republican billionaire Donald Trump, several anti-Semitic incidents have been reported in the media. As ATTN: has noted before, some of Trump's supporters spoke disparagingly about the Jewish population during his campaign. The Ku Klux Klan has celebrated Trump's victory, and Trump himself has raised eyebrows for tweeting out an anti-Semitic meme that originated with the overtly racist alt-right.

President-elect Trump also recently named Stephen Bannon, former editor executive chairman of the news website Breitbart.com, his chief strategist, spurring condemnation from leading Jewish groups. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described Bannon as "the main driver behind Breitbart becoming a white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill."

Police in New York City, meanwhile, are continuing to investigate post-election anti-Semitism that has manifested itself in neighborhoods across the city, according to NBC New York. For example, there was a swastika painted outside a 78-year-old man's residence in Crown Heights, Brooklyn over the weekend. Hasidic Jews make up roughly a quarter of the Crown Heights population, according to the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative.

According to the Pew Research Center, Trump had more support in Election Day exit polls from white voters without college degrees of any candidate in the last 36 years. Nearly 70 percent of whites without college degrees voted for Trump, compared to 28 percent for Clinton.

Update 11/14/2016 3:02 p.m. PT: This article has been updated to clarify that Huxta was not the first to discover the swastika and that other moms reported seeing it on the bench prior to the election.