On the morning of August 14, Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer found racist graffiti written in chalk in front of his Portland home. Another house on the block also had a racial slur written in front of it.

“I’m sitting in my garage. I’m shaken. Anti-Semitic and hate was written on the ground outside my door this morning,” Mayer wrote in a Facebook post about the incident.

Mayer spent the morning thinking about how to respond to the graffiti and had an idea. Mayer, along with his family and neighbors, used a hose to wash the racist messages from the pavement and replaced them with hearts and messages of love.

Mayer thinks that the incident was random and believes his neighborhood is diverse.

“This was a random act of hatred,” Mayer said, “that can be combated only with random acts of love.”

While this incident makes Mayer worry about his community and the state of the world, he has decided to focus on love.

“We have to believe love always wins,” Mayer said.

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Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.