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There is a movement to paint over the hate-fueled election graffiti, and it's fantastic.

'We have so many people who are devastated and feel hopeless. This is a way for them to do something.'

There is a movement to paint over the hate-fueled election graffiti, and it's fantastic.

When Olivia Trimble heard that a hate message had been spray-painted on a wall across from her town's public library, she grabbed her paint, jumped in her car, and headed over.

According to Trimble, the hateful message — a sign that read "F**ck N**gers" — had already been reported to the Fayetteville, Arkansas, police but had yet to be covered up.

“I felt moved to take it down," Trimble said. "I didn’t want my kids or any other person to see that hatred in our city.”


But she didn't just take it down...

She covered it up with a message of love.  

Image from Repaint Hate/Facebook, used with permission.

And Trimble didn't stop there.

When she got home, Trimble wrote a message on social media asking members of her community to let her know of other hateful messages that might appear.

If she could get to them, she'd cover them with uplifting messages in a matter of hours.

Soon after, Trimble began reaching out to other sign-painters, artists, and activists to ask if they would offer similar services in their own neighborhoods. Within a day, she was overwhelmed by a flood of messages from fellow painters — from Chicago to Copenhagen — pledging to do the same.

Just like that, the #RepaintHate movement was born.

Image from Jakob Engelberg/Copenhagen Signs, used with permission.

In the Repaint Hate Facebook group (which has over 3,000 members as of this writing), people can report hateful graffiti that needs covering and share pictures of the messages of love painted over them.

Earlier this week, the owners of Smoke and Barrel Tavern in Fayetteville donated a wall to Trimble, so she could continue spreading positive messages in the face of these hate crimes.

She is still also the on-call painter for any new hate graffiti that might appear in her city, but she believes there can never be too many positive messages, especially during a time where hate crimes are on the rise.

Photo via Olivia Trimble, used with permission.

Repaint Hate is far from the only group with the idea to cover up hateful messages with positive ones.

When a church in Maryland was vandalized with “Trump Nation, Whites Only” graffiti, community members got together and hung “Love Wins" posters all around the church. Students at Michigan State covered up a message painted on their school's boulder that read "Kill 'em all" with "Love 'em all." Three days after the election, Laura Molina, together with her husband Robert, covered up the hate-filled graffiti they found on the sidewalk outside the HRC headquarters in New York City:

“We have so many people who are devastated and feel hopeless," said Trimble. "This is a way for them to do something.”

Painting over these hateful messages is just one way people are taking an active stance against the recent uptick in hate crimes in this country.

A movement called "Yes, I'll accompany my neighbor" was started to accompany minorities who feel threatened on their daily commute and is picking up steam nationwide. Community members and students at Baylor University literally stood and walked with student Natasha Nkhama after she was harassed on campus by a racist. The Anti-Defamation League has taken to fighting hate crimes on a legal and governmental level.  

There are plenty of little things each and every one of us can do to make a difference. You just have to keep your eyes open, and when you see something you can make better, follow Trimble's lead — get out on the street with whatever tools you need and do something about it.

Of course, you should always report a hate crime to the SPLC and your local police department before taking action. They may also have some helpful advice on the best course of action to take.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.