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Signs of love and acceptance becoming popular in Rochester neighborhoods

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"Love your neighbor. Your black, brown, immigrant, disabled, religiously different, LGBTQ, fully human neighbor." "Love your neighbor. Your black, brown, immigrant, disabled, religiously different, LGBTQ, fully human neighbor."
Multi-colored sign with the state of Minnesota on it Multi-colored sign with the state of Minnesota on it
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Love your neighbor. It's a simple message, but it's not always easy to abide by.

For the past month, signs of love and acceptance have been popping up in front yards across Rochester.

There are two versions of the signs. The first, a multi-colored sign, reads "all are welcome here" with a picture of the state of Minnesota on it. The second sign is red and reads, "Love your neighbor. Your black, brown, immigrant, disabled, religiously different, LGBTQ, fully human neighbor."

The multi-colored sign can be purchased at https://www.allarewelcomehere.us/.

The red signs can be bought at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester for $10. Mary said the proceeds go to Rochester social justice programs. The church also wants to use the money to sponsor a Syrian family.

The signs started appearing on Rochester lawns one month ago. They originated in Bloomington, Minnesota, eventually making their way down to Rochester. 

"I think it's wonderful," said 80-year-old Sandra Miller of the red signs. Sandra takes daily walks through the historic southwest neighborhood in Rochester. She said if she were in a foreign country, she would want the people there to love her. The same way she would love them if they came to the United States.

The message is simple: love others. "We're all Americans. No matter where we come from, who we are, who we love, how able or disabled we are, we're still all Americans," said Rochester homeowner Mary Amundsen. More than that, she mentioned she has the red sign in her yard because people who are either visiting from out of town or Mayo patients need to see a good representation of Rochesterites.

But why now? Why are the signs becoming more popular at this particular moment in time? "What's been happening politically seems to be getting worse." When asked what Mary was referring to, she said President Trump and his immigration policies.

Mary mentioned that the Twin Cities woman who created them wanted a positive sign about her neighbors. Because, Mary said, we are all immigrants except Native Americans.

"I grew up as a young child during the second World War, and in a community of German and Swiss immigrants. So there were a lot of feelings then of, 'Geez these are Germans or Japanese,' or this animosity towards other cultures." 

Former police officer Mike Burkel shared similar sentiments about the political nature of the signs. "People are giving policeman bad raps, and policemen are also misbehaving at times. I think that's where that stems from is the politics that come out of all of that," said Mike. He added that we need these particular signs to "let people know we are a caring people."

Even though we live in a world where we may not agree politically, we can agree to follow the golden rule: love your neighbor as yourself.

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