Hatred seems to be going viral. So, too, are the efforts of those–regardless of their politics–who are uniting to stand against it. A good example of this can bee seen in the actions of a group of New Yorkers who found hateful graffiti in a subway car.
[Scroll Down for Video]
Graffiti on a subway car isn’t anything new. Hate-filled graffiti isn’t new. Yet there is an attitude of growing intolerance to the nation’s divisions, and that spirit clearly captured the moment on the train Saturday evening.
CNN spoke with Gregory Locke, one of the passengers on the No. 1 subway train. We he boarded the train, he could see the passengers were uneasy, and then the graffiti.
“Everybody was sitting there stunned,” said Locke, a New York attorney originally from Atlanta, Georgia. “It wasn’t until the doors closed behind me that I saw it on the windows of the doors.”
The messages were written in permanent ink on all of the signs and ads in the car. “Jews belong in the oven,” one said. “Destroy Islam,” said another. “Heil Hitler,” said a third.
Everyone looked around awkwardly, aware that the person who had written the messages wasn’t likely on the train. “Hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie pen. We need alcohol,”one bold man reportedly said.
“The woman across the car saw me looking at the graffiti, asked me if I could do something and offered a tissue. That’s when it clicked that sanitizer would work,” Jared Nied, another of the passengers told CNN.
The passengers then mobilized. Encouraged by their unified desire to remove the messages, they all pooled their resources and got to work.
“It was very uplifting to see everyone come together like that,” said Locke.
CNN reports that the The New York Police Department are aware of the graffiti and are investigating it as a possible “bias-motivated incident.”
After the cleaning was complete, the mood on the train had lightened significantly. “We all just sat back down, glanced at each other, and went about our ride much happier,” Nied said.
The graffiti on this train is just a small part of a larger problem, but the citizens of New York are coming together to solve it. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has even addressed the issue. He recently praised the creative efforts of someone who had turned a swastika into a sign of love.
“This is what New Yorkers do — we turn hate into love. That is our message to the nation and to the world. And we won’t back down — not now, not ever,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote.