A coalition of community groups, elected officials and other concerned citizens want to spread a message around Huntington.
Hate has no business in Huntington.
“I believe our innovations and ability to excel is rooted in our diversity,” Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said at the campaign announcement. “Diversity of culture, religion, occupations, talents and interests. I’ve said it many times in the past and will say it again now, Huntington really is a slice of what America is and should be.”
The campaign, which started July 24, calls for signs to be placed on lawns or in business windows emblazoned with a message of inclusiveness, such as, "Hate Has No Home in the Town of Huntington" and "All are Welcome Here."
A catalyst for the sign campaign was a racist Facebook rant by a local restaurant owner directed at a group of young people who were peacefully marching June 1 against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd. The rant by Luigi Petrone, then co-owner of Tutto Pazzo restaurant on New York Avenue, went live as the young people marched in downtown Huntington, calling them “punks” and “little animals, savages.”
The rant sparked a backlash against Petrone with more peaceful marches and demands for equality.
Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a regional Smart Growth planning organization and founder of LI Main Street Alliance, said in addition to printing and distributing flyers, they’ve also agreed to walk to local businesses to encourage them to place the posters in their windows or bulletin areas.
Citing messages of division that are being heard around the country, Alexander said it’s important to remember that within communities people can and do work together on common projects.
"We have tons of work to do but we are not a community brimming with hate and the people working together in good faith like the good folks at the Anti Bias Task Force and their volunteers can help spread a positive message,” Alexander said.
About 40 students from Huntington area school districts and local youth organizations will serve as ambassadors of the program by delivering the signs upon request. Lupinacci was joined by town board members Mark Cuthbertson, Joan Cergol and Edmund Smyth; Insp. William Scrima of the Second Precinct, students and a host of other community leaders.
The signs will be available through the town’s Human Services Department. To request a sign, call 631-351-3304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.