Following last month’s distribution of Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers at homes in Purcellville and Leesburg, a new movement based on loving neighbors has launched.
Purcellville residents LeAnne and J.J. McNamara have started the “Love Your Neighbor – Orange Ribbon Campaign” with the goal of displaying orange ribbons as “a sign of love and unity in response to expressions of hate and bigotry.” The campaign came as an immediate response to the family waking up to learn that some of their neighbors had found the KKK pamphlets in their driveways. “We wanted them to wake up to love and unity,” LeAnne said.
She said the color orange was chosen because it relates to the idea of bringing awareness to racial prejudice. Campaign organizers have been asking residents, places of worship and local businesses to tie orange ribbons to their mailboxes or doors and community members to wear the ribbons on their clothing. “That can act as a conversation starter,” McNamara said.
What started as a grass roots effort among a small group of passionate neighbors has now grown into a larger community effort to get the word out.
“They’re taking it and running with it,” McNamara said. “It’s just kind of taken off on its own.”
Campaign organizers also plan to take part in the Loudoun County Clergy’s Love Your Neighbor Initiative Concert this Saturday, Feb. 10 at the First Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Leesburg at 6:30 p.m.
McNamara said she also wants to set up a booth at community events throughout the year, like Purcellville’s Wine & Food Festival and Music and Arts Festival. “The whole goal is to continue the conversation,” she said.
For more information on the initiative and upcoming events, go to the campaign’s Facebook page.