Cherry Hill resident hopes to spread positive message through Hate Has No Home Here campaign

JoAnne Negrin has helped create a campaign to bring more Hate Has No Home Here signs to Cherry Hill and surrounding communities.

Last November, a group of community members from a neighborhood in Chicago began passing out posters and signs with the quote “Hate Has No Home Here,” written in multiple languages.

In the four months since, the signs and posters have gone viral. Thousands of signs are now sitting outside of homes and businesses across the United States with the goal of promoting a more inclusive culture.

In Cherry Hill, one resident is hoping to get more members of the community to place the signs outside their homes.

Earlier this year, JoAnne Negrin began a campaign on Tilt.com to have “Hate Has No Home Here” signs ordered and delivered to Cherry Hill.

Negrin began the campaign earlier this year not only to give back to her community, but also to help herself heal from a recent injury. Negrin suffered a head injury last September in a bike accident and has spent much of the last six months going through physical, occupational and cognitive therapy.

“At this point, what I’m working on is not just getting stronger physically, but doing things such as interacting with people who are outside of my immediate circle, putting myself in charge of small things that I need to organize and completing them from start to finish,” Negrin said.

At the same time, Negrin wanted to do something to give back to the community. Negrin formerly worked as a Spanish teacher in Cherry Hill Public Schools before leaving the district to work as an administrator in Vineland in 2012. After leaving Cherry Hill, Negrin’s job left her with less time to get involved locally.

“It’s an opportunity to do something for the community, and at the same time, it makes me better,” Negrin said of the campaign.

Negrin and her friend and co-organizer Susan McGunnigle were already planning a campaign when, on Feb. 27, a bomb threat was called into the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill. Following the threat, Negrin feels there’s been a lot of interest in community members wanting to purchase a sign.

“We had things in motion prior to the incident,” Negrin said. “I think it has been a catalyst for making the campaign that much larger and more relevant.”

Negrin and McGunnigle created a campaign on Tilt.com, which allows them to not only collect money, but keep in contact with donors so the signs can later be distributed. Penn Jersey Signs is providing the signs for the campaign. The cost of a sign is $5.

Negrin already has some signs she acquired during a similar campaign run earlier this year in Haddonfield. She saw firsthand the impact the signs had on a neighbor who walked past her home earlier this year.

“She said to me, ‘I just want to thank you for having that sign up because it’s something that just gives me hope,’” Negrin said.

Through the campaign, Negrin has been in touch with others around the country in the “Hate Has No Home Here” network. Negrin said others she’s talked to have had to deal with opposition to the signs, but that hasn’t been the case in Cherry Hill.

“From being in that national network, there’s a lot of people who’ve experienced pushback,” Negrin said. “I’ve had none.”

Negrin wants to encourage Cherry Hill neighborhoods to band together and acquire signs. She feels the community can really drive home the message of inclusiveness through the campaign.

“We really want to see them on as many lawns as possible,” Negrin said. “I think when you see them at house after house after house with that statement in front of it, it sends a message to everyone that this is a community that values everybody.”

Signs must be ordered by Sunday, March 26. The signs are expected to be ready during the first week of April. Anyone who purchases signs will be able to pick them up at the Cherry Hill Public Library once they’re ready. For more information or to purchase a sign, visit www.tilt.com/tilts/hate-has-no-home-here-yard-signs-3dee5984.