For three hours on a sunny Sunday afternoon, about 150 people – including lots of children and their parents, the police chief, and the school superintendent – drank lemonade and chalked pro-tolerance messages on the sidewalks at Halloran Park where chalked swastikas had been found four days earlier.
The resulting sidewalk art included many rainbows and hearts, and carefully decorated calls to “Make Someone Smile Every Day,” “Love One Another,” “Throw Kindness Around,” and “Stand Together.”
The Aug. 18 “Day of Kindness” was organized by school superintendent John Marcus, who said that after hearing about the anti-Semitic vandalism, he wanted to show what he considered the more positive side of Stoughton.
“After driving home that night, and many others prior, I saw the beautiful diversity and joyful play that is what Stoughton is all about,” Marcus said. “So I figured the community could send its own message to the world that we are open and welcoming.”
Marcus said the Stoughton Public Schools and Recreation Department provided the chalk and lemonade for the event.
“I think it gave us an opportunity to do something positive with our children that showed them a way to use their voice along with other adults and kids to make a collective statement about love and acceptance,” Marcus said afterward. “Seeing people of all ages and backgrounds drawing and laughing and playing together was pretty magical.”
Johanna Seltz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.