The sign is in three languages — Spanish, English and Arabic — and has popped up in various cities across North America bearing a simple message: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.”
This nationwide phenomenon started from a single hand-painted sign on a church in Harrisonburg, Virginia named Immanuel Mennonite. Pastor Matthew Bucher is the architect of the sign and says he was “pretty disappointed” with the rhetoric of the primary debates, especially as directed toward people who weren’t born in the U.S., and started putting up these signs last year.
“The church is located in the northeast part of Harrisonburg, which has a long tradition of being the African-American part of the city,” explains Pastor Bucher. “But in the past 20 years it’s also become home to a lot of people from Central America, the Middle East and around the world. That’s why we did it in three languages — English, Arabic and Spanish. Because those are the three most common languages spoken in our neighborhood.”
After seeing the signs on social media, Penn State campus minister Ben Wideman went about personally distributing hundreds of them. “My Muslim friends talk about how wonderful it is to see signs in Arabic around town, making them feel a little safer,” says Mr. Wideman. “And our neighbor who speaks Spanish was moved to tears by seeing our sign in our yard.”