NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — There was outrage in Naperville Wednesday after young people supporting Black Lives Matter were confronted.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves showed us how the incident, caught on camera, prompted another movement.
A group of young women put up paper hearts that read “BLM,” for “Black Lives Matter,” on a board set up in front of a building. Then some people came up and ripped them off.
“This is a good city!” a man told the young women on video. “You want to ruin it!”
It came a day after unrest in the town led to looting and boarded-up windows. Some decorated the wooden planks, including the girls, who were showing support when they were confronted with a backlash.
“There was also a couple that flipped us off across the street in their car, and then they ran out and basically told us all lives matter, white privilege matters,” said Alyssa Helm.
It brought the women to tears.
The paper hearts were left on the ground as the video circulated like wildfire on social media. Some called out one person ripping down paper as a worker at Lou Malnati’s across the street.
“No, she made a mistake – she thought that there was something on the hearts,” said Mike Archer, chief executive officer of Lou Malnati’s. “But that’s not what this story is about. The story is about these young ladies are doing in terms of spreading a message of love.”
That message reached the message. People of every race plastered boards Wednesday – with more hearts than the walls could hold.
“We came, we brought our own hearts, so they know that we’re not stopping this,” said Mia Jones.
The video showing the hearts being pulled down represented a hurtful reality for some.
“It broke my heart and made me realize that we had to have a conversation in our home,” said Jenna Wright. “We just talked about what white privilege is, and the fact that we don’t have to worry about certain things, and that it’s just not fair.”
It provided hope for others.
“We have to start somewhere. And right now, those young ladies, this generation, they look like the generation willing to take that stand,” said Toya Campbell.
“(We) want to hopefully get to a point where we can have an open and peaceful conversation and get everybody together and as close to equality as possible,” Helm said.
By the end of the day, multiple boards on stores in downtown Naperville had hearts plastered all over them, as a scene of division sparked a show of unity.