A man complained about anti-hate lawn signs. This 13-year-old set him straight.

When seventh grader Luke Macannuco penned a letter to the editor of his local newspaper, he probably didn't expect to make national news.

Luke was responding to a letter to the editor in the Winchester Star written by a man named John Natale in which Natale critiqued the "Hate Has No Home Here" campaign after seeing signs with the slogan popping up on lawns in the neighborhood. Luke felt Natale's letter missed the point of the campaign and took it upon himself to set Natale straight with a letter of his own.

When ACLU Massachusetts legal director Matthew Segal shared a photo of Luke's letter on Twitter, it went absolutely viral.


Photos by Matthew Segal/Twitter and Shawn Macannuco, used with permission.

This is what the sign in question looked like:

As Luke explained in his letter:

"I read, with great interest, Mr. John Natale’s colossal misunderstanding of the 'Hate Has No Home Here' signs. Natale’s first mistake was claiming the signs read, 'Hate has no place in this home.' Mr. Natale is incorrectly assuming that the owners of the sign are finding it necessary to state that there is no hate in their home. But, as the American flag depicted on the sign signifies, the posters are referencing the entire U.S.A., a country that does not tolerate hate in spite of its current leadership. Those people who have chosen to place a 'Hate Has No Home Here' sign on their lawn are standing behind their belief that the country should be free of hate."

Luke answered four of Natale's questions with pure 🔥.

"1. Question: 'Who are the haters that you, the sign owner, are referring to?' Answer: Bigots who are trying to take away protections for transgender students, deport refugees and build a very expensive wall to keep illegal immigrants out (which is completely pointless and not helping your cause, but I digress).

2. Question: 'What, or whom, do the haters hate?' Answer: Perfectly innocent human beings who happen to be different from the haters.

3. Question: 'What is the evidence that there is significant hate in our community?' Answer: Me getting called homosexual slurs by students and adults alike.

4. Question: 'Obviously, you are so morally superior that you may declare everyone who disagrees with you a hater (side note: this first part is a statement, not a question). Where, when, and how did you become the Lord High Decider of Morality?' Answer: Never. We just put a lawn sign down. Calm down, dude."





Opposing hate shouldn't be a partisan issue, and the world doesn't need to be divided into red teams and blue teams for us to understand that we are more than our politics.

Luke closes his letter slamming attacks of "snowflake sensitivity" (and gets a pretty sick burn in there, too).

"As I stated previously, the signs are not talking exclusively about Winchester. The signs are about the whole United States. They also aren’t implying you are a hater if you disagree; where did you get that idea? Also, Mr. Natale, if you’re going to ask us to do you a favor and take the signs down, do humanity a favor and take your Trump signs down. Finally, if you are going to say signs exhibit 'snowflake sensitivity,' take a moment to think about how you are writing an angry letter to a newspaper about a lawn sign."

Heartwarming signs lining Fenwick Rd in Winchester!

Posted by Hate Has No Home Here - Winchester on Monday, April 24, 2017

You can read the full text of Luke's letter here, the message he was responding to here, and more about what HHNHH is and stands for here.

If you're looking for a reason to feel hopeful about the future, Luke's your guy.

While Luke's letter clearly doesn't cast Donald Trump's positions in a positive light, the rational and reasoned argument being made is worth hearing regardless of your own political views.

It's curious and a bit sad that there are people who would take offense to something as innocuous as a lawn sign discouraging hate. Maybe a seventh-grade boy can help us take a step back from viewing all things through a partisan lens and no longer seeing the values we almost surely — hopefully — share. For that, Luke deserves a well-earned round of applause.

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Brian Olesen never imagined he would end up homeless.

The former U.S. Air Force medic had led a full and active life, complete with a long career in the medical field, a 20-year marriage, and a love of anything aquatic. But after hip surgery and chronic back pain left him disabled in 2013, he lost his ability to work. Due to changes in eligibility requirements, he couldn't qualify for federal veteran housing programs. His back issues were difficult to prove medically, so he didn't qualify for disability. Though he'd worked his whole life, having no income for five years took its toll. He got evicted from a couple of apartments and found himself living on the streets.

But in 2018, two things completely turned Olesen's life around. He was able to both qualify for disability and to move into an affordable housing community in Miami's Goulds neighborhood called Karis Village.

When people think of affordable housing, they don't usually picture a place like Karis Village. The 88-unit development is brand new, and built with an attention to design that is not always expected for developments that serve as home to people on limited incomes. The apartments have tile floors, marble countertops, and all new appliances and furniture, and the grounds are beautiful and well-kept, with a playground and common areas for residents to gather.

Brian Olesen in his kitchen at Karis VillageCapital One

Karis Village isn't just a housing development; it's a home and a community. Half of the units are set aside for veterans who have experienced homelessness, like Olesen. The other half are largely occupied by single-parent families.

"To me, this building was just a gift," says Olesen. "All of the different parties that got together to put this building together… making half the building available to veterans. We've got no place to go."

Addressing veteran homelessness was one of the goals of Karis Village, which was built through a partnership that included Carrfour Supportive Housing — a mission-driven, not-for-profit affordable housing organization in southern Florida — and Capital One's Community Finance team. More than just an affordable place to live, the community has full-time staff on hand to help coordinate services—from addiction recovery programs to transportation options to job search and placement. Also included are peer counselors who provide emotional and psychological support for residents.

Karis Village, an affordable housing community in Miami, Florida.Capital One

Carrfour President and CEO Stephanie Berman says the core function of the services team on site is to build a supportive community.

"Often when you think of folks leaving homelessness and coming into housing, you think of shelters or some kind of traditional housing," she says. "You don't really think about a community, and that's really what we build and what we operate. What we're really striving to create is community. We find that our families thrive when you create a sense of community."

The intention to create a supportive community at Karis Village was a priority from the get go. Fabian Ramirez, a Capital Officer on Capital One's Community Finance team, says the bank did a listening tour in southern Florida to explore community development and affordable housing options in the area and to hear what was most needed. After deciding to partner with Carrfour, the bank provided not only an $8 million construction loan and a $25 million low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) investment to help build Karis Village, but it also kicked in a $250,000 social purpose grant to help fund the social support services that would be put in place for residents.

"It's not just all about providing the brick and mortar," says Ramirez. "It's about being able to contribute to the sustainability of the development and of the lives of the people who move into the building."


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Olesen says he and his fellow residents benefit greatly from the network of support services offered in the building. He says a counselor comes to meet with him once a month, sometimes right in his apartment. He also gets help maintaining a connection with the Veteran Affairs office. Other services include social workers and counselors for drug addiction and alcoholism.

Olesen loves being around other veterans, and he says hearing the sound of children playing keeps the community lively. He says anywhere else he could afford to live on disability wouldn't be nearly as nice and would likely involve shared kitchens and bathrooms and neighborhoods you wouldn't want to go out in at night.

If it weren't for Karis Village, Olesen says he doesn't know where he would be today: "I had nowhere to go and this is a safe, beautiful place to spend my retirement."

"I don't think they could have done a much better job of putting this place together and supplying us with what we need," he says. "I have so much appreciation for the ability to have a place to live. And then you add to that that it's beautiful and completely furnished and you didn't need to bring anything—I don't know what more you could ask for."

Karis Village and another development for veterans built the same year enabled the neighborhood of Goulds to meet the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to declare an end to veteran homelessness in the area.

Ending veteran homelessness altogether is a complex task, but communities like Karis Village show how it can be done—and done well. When government agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporate funding programs come together to solve big problems, big solutions can be built and maintained.

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