By Derrick Blakley

(CBS) — What started as a hashtag has become a movement. Now, there’s mounting evidence that the Black Lives Matter campaign is making a major impact on whites.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley looks at the signs in this original report.

In an affluent, Skokie neighborhood outside Nancy Bellew’s home stands a striking statement: Black Lives Matter.

“I want to show that I’m supportive,” she said.

All around Evanston and Skokie, the signs are proliferating, like in Seymour Schwartz’s front yard.

“All peoples in this country should be treated as equitably as possible,” he said.

And Evanston’s Unitarian Church, a 90 percent white congregation, put up the biggest sign of all.

“We voted on if we were going to put a Black Lives Matter sign on our lawn and it was the first unanimous vote in our church’s memory,” said Rev. Brett Lortie.

Then, the church worked with local groups to distribute hundreds of lawn signs.

“They’re popping up in wards in Evanston that there’s not a huge black presence,” said Melissa Blount of Making Evanston Equitable Together.

One year after the death of Michael Brown and amid continuing protests in Ferguson, Missouri, there’s growing evidence the Black Lives Matter campaign is making an impact with whites.

A new poll shows 44 percent of whites now believe racism is a major problem, up from 27 percent in 2010.

“I think that more people’s eyes have been opened,” Bellew said.

A big step, because the first step is acknowledging a problem.

“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said Blount. “Where do we go after the signs?”

At least 500 of those lawn signs were distributed in Evanston. They’re all gone and now more are being printed.

Participants in the campaign believe the power of social media, combined with video evidence of mistreatment, changed a protest movement into mainstream issue.

Derrick Blakley