‘All Are Welcome Here’: Austin Neighborhood Stands Together in Show of Unity After Antisemitic Flyering
Residents of the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, Texas, were dismayed earlier this month to find racist and antisemitic flyers had been left in their front yards next to their morning newspapers.
Within hours, an informal neighborly gathering was held to discuss the incident and brainstorm ways to respond to the act of hatred that involved the distribution of hundreds of flyers in small plastic bags containing rocks.
It was decided that a joint public statement of solidarity would be made with the display of yard signs reading, “All are welcome here.”
“You don’t want your neighbors to be afraid,” Ruth Wasem — a Hyde Park resident and University of Texas professor — told the Austin American-Statesman. “We had a wonderful community meeting where people just talked about how they felt and whether there were things we should do.”
Austin City Council member Kathie Tovo — who represents Hyde Park — said, “It was really heartening to see neighbors come out and share their shock that this has happened within their neighborhood at their doorsteps.”
“I saw clearly from the gathering that people care about people and it’s important that our neighbors feel both welcome and cared for,” Tovo added.
A day after the discovery of the flyers, Wasem woke up to find a more heartwarming message on her doorstep — a Valentine’s Day greeting from her neighbors.
Doorstep Valentines from neighbors yesterday were especially welcome. Just a day after white supremacists blanketed leaflets, neighbors spread love! pic.twitter.com/Lk7OgPdBLd
— Ruth Wasem (@rewasem) February 15, 2022
In recent months, there has been a nationwide antisemitic flyering campaign organized by supporters of the neo-Nazi Goyim Defense League.
In Austin, the capital of Texas, an antisemitic banner reading “Vax the Jews” was hung on a highway overpass twice last fall.
And on Oct. 31, a neo-Nazi arsonist set the city’s Congregation Beth Israel on fire, causing serious damage to the Reform synagogue.