Artist Turns Racist Graffiti Into An Empowering Message We Can All Get Behind ❤️

Over the last week the quiet East London district of Walthamstow, one of the most ethnically diverse areas in London,  has been shaken up by a string of racist messages graffitied on homes throughout the town.

At least four such messages have been reported by residents who woke to find “Speak English” had been spray painted on their walls, fences, or garage doors sometime during the night.

News of the vandalism traveled well beyond the streets of Walthamstow after Local MP Stella Creasy posted about the incident on Facebook.

To whoever the sad sack is who is targeting walthamstow with this hate crime graffiti- know that not only will we find…

Posted by Stella Creasy on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

On Facebook Creasy denounced the cowardly act of vandalism as hate speech and encouraged her constituents to instead celebrate their diversity by responding with a “big show of love.”

“Together we can drown out this little hate with a big show of love, and in doing so send a clear message that when you target one of us you get all of us standing up to fight back.”

One local artist seemed to take that message to heart.

With a little bit of Photoshop magic Walthamstow resident Chris Walker turned the hateful graffiti into something that celebrated the area’s diversity. Walker, who works as a digital designer and illustrator, was born in Walthamstow.

He told Indy100 that, for locals, multiculturalism has always been the backbone of the community.

“Whoever was responsible clearly has no idea where they are living, I was born in Walthamstow and have lived here on and off for 40 years, it has always been a vastly multicultural community and that’s what makes it so great.”

So when Walker noticed that the vandal had left plenty of room around the graffiti, he decided to “fill in the blanks” and create something that better fit the spirit of Walthamstow.

His artful reimagination of the graffiti soon went viral and people praised his message of unity over hate.

The only problem? Walker didn’t have enough room to include every language spoken in Walthamstow.

Even after the positive response, Walker wasn’t sure his post would do much to fight hate, but he hoped it would remind others that all are welcome in Walthamstow.

“I’m not sure my little protest can stop things like this happening, but the response to it has, I hoped, brought the community together in speaking out and served to reassure that this is a minority view and that everyone is welcome in E17 and always will be.”

Walker got his wish as community members banded together to organize the planting of 6,000 flowers in a local park as another “big show of love.”

Walthamstow showed that the best way to respond to hate was with a whole lot of love. That’s one message we can all get behind.

H/T – Indy100, Daily Mail