After learning the results of the polarizing presidential election, Theresa Govert, of East Haddam, Connecticut, felt compelled to paint a sign with a powerful message for her town. Someone vandalized it within a day and spray-painted "Trump 2016" over it.
The sign says, "Dear Muslims, immigrants, women, disabled, LGBTQ and all people of color, we love you boldly and proudly. We will endure." The message was taken from a tweet by writer and activist Shaun King.
Govert said she thought it was something people needed to see after the election.
"I just wanted to make sure that even in our small community that anyone who did feel marginalized felt supported and it's about coming together," she said.
Govert painted the sign and put it up at Wilmer F Palmer Road and Route 149 on Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday morning, someone had spray-painted over the message with "Trump 2016."
Govert said she knew when she painted the sign that there was a chance someone might deface the sign. But she wasn't expecting it to happen with the name of the president-elect.
Dear Muslims, Immigrants, Women, Disabled, and All People of Color,— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 9, 2016
I love you - boldly and proudly. We will endure. We will not break.
"A sign that is encouraging love to use his name to do the opposite seems counterproductive," she said.
Residents who were supportive of the sign's original message were shocked by the vandalism.
"I hope that's not the message that the Trump presidency has, to be racist and prejudiced," said George Hungerford, a lifelong East Haddam resident.
"Unless you have everyone together, you cannot make America great again," Kate O'Boyle said.
Another longtime resident, Nancy Murray, was so shocked by the sign that she bought a bucket of paint and painted over the graffiti.
"They're trying to divide us," she said. "We just don't want division here."
Govert said she plans to paint another sign with the same message and post it again.