Social media has been lit up with messages of solidarity, and kindness amid the recent anti-immigrant vandalism incident at Browne’s Irish Marketplace in Kansas City. Wondering how you can show your support, too? Here are a few ideas.
The owners of Browne's Irish Marketplace in Kansas City, Missouri, the oldest Irish business in North America, dating back to 1887, were shocked to discover their shop had been vandalized with graffiti expressing hatred against immigrants.
They are maintaining an optimistic outlook, however, thanks largely to people around the world who have spoken out in solidarity. Here's how you can do the same.
Show your support on social media. Browne's is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp, and Trip Advisor.
Messages have flooded in from all over the world from the Irish and Irish diaspora, as well as those who see the act as part of a new reality in Donald Trump’s America.
‘IMMIGRANTS NOT WELCOME ‘ spray-painted on a Kansas City store. The shop has been there for over 130 years. It sells Irish products, and is run by the great-grandchildren of the man who began it. And if it took this to finally kindle your outrage, you’re a shite.— Stephen Whitty (@StephenWhitty) June 14, 2018
In addition to many with Irish heritage expressing their anger for this act, Kerry Browne, one of the owners of the store, said that many people and groups reached out to the store from Ireland, most notably the well-known Temple Bar in Dublin, to talk with her about what happened.
I can't even express how very disturbing this is, and right in my own backyard!!— Joe Quinn (@JoeQuinnOnline) June 13, 2018
Ignorance is complete stupidity and is just devastating to those who are targeted!
I know it will be... https://t.co/oQ4nJXbLJB
Many of the posts attributed this attack as indicative of a larger trend of hostility toward immigrants and those seeking refuge from their home countries. Even so, Browne felt that this was not a part of a larger movement of hatred against immigrants, but instead noted that it's inevitable that some people will hate.
Some patrons have also left touching Yelp reviews in support. All the way from Kirkland, Washington, a woman named Kathleen M. wrote:
To the Flavins....
Dear Ed and Mary,
I've just read about the evil one(s) who desecrated your establishment.
I am truly sorry for your troubles and I hope the amadan is caught and made to pay as quickly as possible.
Seems as history is repeating itself, from when the Irish first came to this country...we still have a section of the population that are equal opportunity racists and bigots coming out of the woodwork.
Don't let these bastards grind you down....if I were in your community, I'd be more than happy to stand watch to keep them away.
All the best to you and yours!
Amid the hate, Browne offered a silver-lining: “there’s still a lot of people who are going to love in response to it and just be kind in return.” As a whole, love and kindness will always prevail over hatred in her view.
Had to share this as someone who's of (partial) Irish descent & has had tweets published in https://t.co/XNwOODFDyK— 🌊ⒿⒶⓎ🇺🇸ⒷⓇⓄⓌⓃ🗽 (@TheMrJayBrown) June 13, 2018
Anti-Irish immigrant graffiti sprayed on Irish Kansas city store?
Knew we've gone backwards in the US the past 2 years, but to the 1880s?https://t.co/Luf18HRlaV
Visit Browne's Irish Marketplace in person
Since the incident, immigrants from places such as Italy and Mexico have come to visit the store and show that they understand and are incensed by what happened, as Browne also stated.
“I think they can all relate to it on a personal level; they’re immigrants,” Browne added.
Unless the person who did this graffiti is a Native American, then they are essentially saying that they, a descendant of immigrants, are not welcome in the US. Guessing they don't see that... https://t.co/05vAoLHjaX— Clare O'Donohue (@clare_odonohue) June 12, 2018
People have even visited her store, as Browne noted, to bring flowers or simply tell their own stories about their family’s history with immigration and their origins.
What came of the incident, as per Browne, was infinitely more important as it showed that people were not willing to let hate triumph over a sense of community.