SPRING GREEN (WKOW) — Several Sauk County communities have received hateful, white nationalist and anti-Semitic flyers this week. Spring Green was one of them, but the community is fighting back with words of their own.
Driving around town you can see them in a number of yards. While walking down the sidewalk in downtown Spring Green, they’re hard to miss in some the shops’ windows. They are simple signs with blue lettering, reading, “Hate Has No Home Here.” The ‘O’ in home is a heart made from an American flag.
“I though it was brilliant,” said Karin Miller, the owner of the General Store in town.
The signs are a unified response to a hateful act.
“Really, [it was] a shock to me,” said Amy Mueller who lives in town.
On Sunday, she went to get in her car. Before she could open the door, she saw a flyer tucked in the door handle.
“I thought it was another political ad or flyer,” she said.
But when she opened it, she was startled by what she read.
“Right at the top, it said, ‘WHITE LIVES MATTER.’ Then, there were a series of websites,” Mueller said. The websites were associated with white nationalism and anti-Semitic propaganda.
Nearly every car on Mueller’s side of the block had a flier attached. She notified her neighbor, Carey Cannon, who had one on her car, too.
“My husband and I then went and started taking them off people’s cars,” Cannon said. “We just didn’t want that kind of hateful speech in our community.”
The neighbors then formed a group of about six people and made a plan to fight back with words of their own.
“We made 55 signs, I think,” Cannon said excitingly.
The group needed some help, so they went to local shops downtown and told business owners what was going on.
“What happened Sunday does not reflect the nature of the Spring Green that I’m familiar with,” said Joel Marcus, the owner of Nina’s Department Store.
When Marcus heard what happened, he knew he had to help resist the hate and stick up for the morals and standards his community had.
“It’s extremely upsetting that people would come into our community and attempt to advocate for those types of hateful ideas,” Marcus said.
It’s why he pitched in, donating items to the group to help make the signs.
Other local businesses helped as well, including Miller’s store, which served as a distribution center.
“It was an easy decision,” said Miller. “We do our best to make everyone and anyone feel welcome here. That has been a real, conscious decision that I feel like we’ve made as a community.”
The team is now out of signs, but they’re making more. They’ve even ordered some from hatehasnohome.org.
More signs will be sold from the general store for $5 when they get more in stock.
A group of people coming together to prove what they’ll accept in their community, as they make it clear that they have no room for hate.
“Love will win and hate has no place,” said Mueller.
“In the end, we do all have to live together,” said Miller.
The hateful leaflets were also reportedly found in Baraboo, Reedsburg and Mt. Horeb. Police do not know who passed the flyers out.