With election season over, there is a new yard sign in town — and it doesn't have a single candidate's name on it.
In battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin, signs reading "no matter where you are from, we're glad you're our neighbor" are popping up. The sentence is written in three languages: English, Spanish and Arabic, an intentional nod to Hispanic and Muslim communities that were demonized by high profile politicians in 2016.
The signs, which were made by Washington, D.C. resident Conrad Grass, were actually not his idea. He had found a high-res image of the sign on the website for the Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Matthew Burcher, the church's pastor, drew the original sign by hand during the primary debates last year, which became notorious for their harsh rhetoric about minority groups.
"The church is located in the northeast part of Harrisonburg, which has a long tradition of being the African-American part of the city," Bucher told NPR in a December interview. "But in the past 20 years, it's also become home to a lot of people from Central America, the Middle East and around the world."
According to NPR, the signs have since spread through word of mouth. Washington, D.C. blogger Drew Schneider posted a picture of one sign on his website petworthnews.org. Soon enough, 350 Petworth residents were ordering signs. A similar phenomenon took place in State College, Pa., where Penn State campus minister Ben Wideman says he has distributed hundreds after seeing a picture of one online.
"My Muslim friends talk about how wonderful it is to see signs in Arabic around town, making them feel a little safer," Wideman told NPR. "And our neighbor who speaks Spanish was moved to tears by seeing our sign in our yard."
Now, there are thousands all over the country. The signs are part of a larger trend of acceptance across the country, including movements to welcome refugees into local neighborhoods.
If you're interested in printing out signs yourself, high-res PDF's are available on the church's website here.
Check out a news report about the signs below: