LAKEVIEW — A banner on a Lakeview overpass that read “I ❤️ white babies” was taken by the city earlier this month, according to an alderman who called it “weird and stupid.”
Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) said several of his constituents notified the city about the banner on the overpass near Montrose and Ravenswood avenues.
Bethany Tibbs was on her way to work the on Aug. 8 when she came across the sign.
“Clearly, some character thought this was the newest clever way to ‘melt the snowflakes.’ Probably it was some bored teenager who is going to grow out of this sort of thing,” she said. “But we as a community cannot ignore the escalating incidence of white supremacy, even in such progressive enclaves as Ravenswood.”
Tibbs reached out to Block Club about the sign after she read about white supremacist flyers being posted in Logan Square.
“I do not wish to draw a false equivalence between this sort of tasteless trolling and the actual menace of the emergence of a violent group. … Clearly this banner is more benign,” Tibbs said. “But in a community that purports to value its diversity, such exclusionary language must be publicly countered.”
When Pawar notified his staff about the sign, he found out the superintendent had already heard about it and taken it down.
“I saw that. Our ward superintendent took that down after a couple constituents alerted us to it,” Pawar said. “It’s truly bizarre.”
He says that since President Donald Trump was elected there has been some similar incidents in his ward that have concerned him.
“Like a swastika painted on the sidewalk and a gay couple targeted with hate graffiti,” Pawar said. “But this sign seems kind of, it’s just weird and very stupid.”
Pawar says his office didn’t send out an alert to residents about the sign because the sign and message appeared more odd than malicious.
“Our office, we typically get these kind of troll emails and so we get used to this stuff,” he said. “When it’s very overt hate speech we take precautions, but something so weird and bizarre, I didn’t think heightening people’s anxieties made sense. But if it continues to happen we’ll definitely take precautions.”
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