Hate Has No Home at Doylestown Station

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Dear Neighbors,

Please take the time to read this very important message, and please consider showing your support by signing this petition.

In May 2017, I put up a 12” x 8” red, white and blue garden nylon garden flag in the front flower bed of my home. The flag read, Hate Has No Home Here and showed translation of this phrase in Arabic, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and English. Before I put up the flag, I checked Doylestown Station’s regulations, which stated clearly, “Freestanding, small, decorative or commemorative flags, not to exceed 1-square foot, may be placed in front beds of all units.” This decorative garden flag met those specifications.

Six months later, on November 6, 2017 I received a violation notice from our condominium association management, requesting that the flag be taken down because it was deemed not “decorative.” In response, I (along with another neighbor who also received a violation for the same flag) went to the next board meeting to appeal the violation, and to ask why this flag was not deemed “decorative.”

At this meeting, I explained the meaning behind the Hate Has No Home Here message, and I explained the origin of the Hate Has No Home Here project (go to hatehasnohomehere.org). I explained that, even though the flags first made their  appearance after the 2016 election, the flags are not political (a message that says “vote for X” would be political). I explained that, similar to someone’s garden flag that says “Love Thy Neighbor,” the Hate Has No Home Here garden flag is a very tasteful and discreet way for my family to express a heartfelt concern that our community (large and small) is moving in the wrong direction regarding embracing racial and religious diversity. The fact that this sentiment is being interpreted as a political statement is both troubling and terrifying. Opposing bigotry has become controversial? What does that say about where we are as a community?

I believe the reason why we received the initial violation had absolutely nothing to do with the flag not being “decorative.” I believe it has everything to do with the fact that the majority of our board simply didn’t like the message of encouraging racial and cultural diversity. Could this possibly reflect concern about attracting people to the neighborhood who don’t look, speak, pray or decorate their homes the same way as they do?

The board realized that, in fact, they couldn’t be the arbiter of what “decorative” means, so they instead decided to change the regulations and ban all garden flags.

Here are the reasons the board provided:

1.     The board has to make difficult decisions in an “effort to preserve the aesthetic standards of the community.”

The garden flag that caused this controversy was smaller than the maximum size allowed for garden flags. The message on the flag is one of kindness and acceptance. I could almost understand the “aesthetic standards” argument if someone wanted to hang a Nazi flag, but we’re talking about a flag that literally says “Hate Has No Home Here.”

2.     The board has to make difficult decisions to “ensure property values remain whole.”

By that logic, the board is saying that a message welcoming people of all races/faiths can have an adverse effect on property values. This is unacceptable.

3.     The Board’s decisions are made “in the best interest of the overall community, not just a few.”

This argument would have far more merit had the board actually asked members what they thought. They didn’t.

 

Why this should concern you:

The board went through a lot of trouble (legal counsel paid for with association funds, drafting new regulations, etc.) for one reason: to silence a message that essentially says “people are welcome here regardless of race or religion.” This should concern every homeowner in the community who cares about making our community welcoming to people of all races and religions.

Please consider signing to show your support.

Sincerely,

Cindy Rosenfeld

(66 Cornerstone, CindyGRosenfeld@gmail.com)

* * *

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, feel that the Doylestown Station Condominium Association’s recent decision to ban all garden flags was a deliberate, focused effort to ban one particular flag with the message “Hate Has No Home Here.”

This action, which happened behind closed doors, without community dialogue, contradicts our shared belief that Doylestown Station welcomes all people to our community, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.

We request that the Board abandon the recent changes to the regulations (10.4 and 10.5) and revert to the previously existing regulation that states:

 10.4     “Freestanding, small decorative or commemorative flags, not to exceed 1-square foot, may be discreetly placed in front beds of all units.”

 


 



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