“Love Lives Here” was the rally cry for a gathering of hundreds of people responding to recent hate crimes in the city of Colorado Springs, CO, USA. A swastika and other anti-Semitic graffiti were painted on a local synagogue, and numerous cars in the same area were marked with racial slurs. Religious and civic leaders gathered together to show their support for the Jewish congregation and the residents whose property was vandalized, and to stand, in solidarity, invoking the presence of love over hate.
Parliament Ambassador, Rev. Dr. Ahriana Platten, partnered with the NAACP, and other city leaders, to organize the event. Here are her comments:
We came from all walks of life. From all religions. From all political parties. Gay and straight. Black and white. Young and old. Rainbow-headed millennials and gray-haired hippies. We came to stand with the victims and to share a message about our city; Love Lives Here - and where there is love, hate can find no home.
In our town, we do not tolerate hate. We do not ignore it or let it slip by us unnoticed. Instead, we look hate square in the eye and meet it with the one power it cannot overcome. Love. In the pre-dawn hours of August 4th, hate showed its face, vandalizing homes and vehicles, and desecrating a holy place. It took less than 36 hours to organize a response. On August 6th, we made it known that hate is not welcome in our town. Ever.
City Council members, State representatives, Senators and civic organization leaders shared a message of love and unity. 17 faith leaders, representing a wide variety of spiritual traditions, stood side by side in agreement. A Muslim leader said “we are more alike than we know.” Another member of the clergy reminded us that “what happens to one of us, happens to all of us” and an evangelical leader apologized to the victims, saying, “Let me begin by saying I’m sorry…for any ways in which the beliefs or practices of my faith tradition made it possible for this to happen. Please forgive us.”
At the culmination of the rally, members of the temple that had been vandalized, offered a blessing prayer for the crowd in Hebrew, and even though most of us could not understand the words, we felt the love and were deeply moved by the gratitude shared with us. A community member quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In our city, Love is lighting the way.
Image Credit: Ahriana Platten
See additional images below. Please note, these images include disturbing material displaying hate speech and symbols.