In a live video that has since gone viral, paper hearts signs of support for the recent protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd, were ripped down right in front of those taping them to a boarded up storefront.
Paper Hearts Ripping
Rachel Hale: We saw a sister and brother putting up hearts that said ‘Black Live Matter’ and ‘Spread Love’ and we went up to them to commend them on what they were doing when a man started coming up and kind of, verbally being really rude to them and to us. So we tried to peacefully explain our views and he just got more and more aggressive and then people got out of their car to rip them down.
A women with brown hair and a black top then proceeded to rip down the signs before returning to her SUV and leaving.
Lou Malnati’s Role
Also caught on film, a manager at Lou Malnati’s, which has a store just across the street.
Mike Archer: Our manager believed that somebody had defaced one of the hearts, tore it down, realized it had not been defaced – in fact, you can hear her on the video saying ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize’
Rachel Hale and Alyssa Helm are both recent high school graduates and were left visibly upset by the abrupt and confrontational interaction. There to console them was the Lou Malnati’s manager, while a co-worker intercepted the older man who began the altercation.
Rachel Hale: That woman that was in the video gave us a huge hug right when that was happening and was super supportive to us.
Online Backlash for Lou Malnati’s
Posted online by 365 Things to Do in Naperville, the video elicited overwhelming negative reaction, for both those tearing down signs… and for Lou Malnati’s.
Mike Archer: We hate the fact that we’re apart of story but what these girls are doing in terms of spreading love and peace. We stand firmly against injustice, we believe that black lives matter and it’s not just a slogan, it’s just who we are. So I wanted to be here today to make sure that people understood that we take this seriously.
Call for More Hearts
Turning the negativity of yesterday into positivity for today, Hale and Helm put out a call to action – to plaster hearts with handwritten messages all over downtown.
Alyssa Helm: From my perspective, the best way to show those people the right way to go is to spread that love and positivity in a completely peaceful way.
Moving the Message Forward
While the demonstration attracted hundreds of people, making the effort a success, the activists want to ensure their positive message resonates in the proper direction.
Alyssa Helm: I have a completely different perspective as to people of color do on this issue and I just hope that us using our privilege that has been given to us by our skin color helps us to bring light to the overall movement and not just on us.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Kevin Jackman