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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Stand Up To Hate Playdate Returning To West Town In October, But Organizers Need Fundraising Help

The Stand Up To Hate Playdate started in 2017 after a Black nanny received a targeted, hate-filled letter. The event seeks to promote kindness and disavow racism.

Left: Maria Ippolito, Ferrai Pickett and Heather DeJonker at the first Stand Up To Hate Play Date.
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WEST TOWN — A yearly West Town tradition to spread kindness and disavow hate will go ahead as planned this fall. 

Now, event organizers are asking the public to help make event financially possible. 

The fourth annual Stand Up To Hate Playdate starts 10 a.m. Oct. 16 at Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy, 1840 W. Ohio St.

Attendees will be able to enjoy activities such as a pop-up book shop with Semicolon Bookstore, gardening, face-painting, crafts and more. There also will be food and drink, including from a Black-owned ice cream shop and taco truck.

To fund these and other plans, organizer Ferrai Pickett is asking people to support her GoFundMe campaign. The $5,000 goal would allow Pickett to bring new ideas for the event to life.

“Due to the pandemic, we were unable to get together last year,” Pickett wrote on the GoFundMe page. “However, it only motivated me to put on an even better event this year.”

Pickett wants to make the event more educational than it has been in the past, with informative resources for kids and adults on LGBTQ+, Black, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Hispanic and Indigenous communities. Families will be able to learn about cultures’ food practices and how to respect food restrictions. Group yoga is planned to teach attendees to manage and tap into their emotions through physical movement. 

“The message of this playdate is to educate as many families as possible to bring hope for a better tomorrow,” Pickett wrote on GoFundMe. “The children are our future, and I want to do all that I can to ensure we are properly raising a better generation.”

Pickett started the Stand Up To Hate Playdate in 2017 after a family she was nannying for at the time received a targeted, hate-filled letter. The anonymous letter left in the family’s mailbox suggested they fire Pickett, who is Black, and employ a white nanny instead.

Pickett worked with mothers Heather DeJonker and Maria Ippolito — for whom she also worked as a nanny — to create the event. The original goal was to teach kids hate shouldn’t be tolerated, the importance of being kind and standing up for what you believe in.

Nearly five years after the incident, Pickett is still committed to spreading that message.

Those who want to support the 2021 Stand Up To Hate Playdate can donate on its GoFundMe page.

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