Stop Hate Together formed to spread love

Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together group members spread peace and love during the Kutztown Block Party on April 23. Left to right are Kutztown resident Arabel Elliot, KMS teacher Beth Patten, KMS Counsellor Hallie Shumacher, Sophia Arnold, 12; and KU student Allison Wade.
Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together group members spread peace and love during the Kutztown Block Party on April 23. Left to right are Kutztown resident Arabel Elliot, KMS teacher Beth Patten, KMS Counsellor Hallie Shumacher, Sophia Arnold, 12; and KU student Allison Wade. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media
Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together group members asked patrons of the Kutztown Community Block Party to pose with the group sign and “I am Kutztown” sign.
Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together group members asked patrons of the Kutztown Community Block Party to pose with the group sign and “I am Kutztown” sign. Lisa Mitchell - Digital First Media

Wearing flowers in her hair, Kutztown Middle School teacher Beth Patten and other organizers have been spreading peace and love in Kutztown.

Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together is a new community group that was established on April 18 by Patten along with other organizers KMS Principal Jim Brown, Kutztown School District Superintendent George Fiore, Kutztown Community Partnership President Jerry Schearer (also Associate Dean for Inclusion and Outreach at Kutztown University), Kutztown resident Arabel Elliott, and KU communication design professor Vicki Meloney, as well as others who are involved in the community.

“We are trying to spread peace and love and we’re trying to unify the community amongst hate,” said Patten at the Kutztown Community Block Party on April 23, encouraging people to like them on Facebook and Instagram.

There was a coloring contest for children and they asked Block Party attendees to hold a “I Am Kutztown” sign and a “Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together” sign for photos that were shared on Facebook and Instagram.

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“Our main goal is to spread love and peace and stop hate within our community,” said Patten.

Brown, Principal at Kutztown Middle School, explained how the new community group originated.

“It’s a concern that we’re just not as kind to everybody as we should be,” said Brown during Friend’s Executive Baker Challenge on April 29. “A lot of us noticed that for the longest time everything seems kind of fine between ethnicities and races and just people that are different.”

That seemed to change.

“People just are not as nice to each other as they should be.”

Brown said they want to bring kindness back into the community.

“It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Peace. Love. Kutztown. Stop Hate Together is organizing student groups. Patten is working in conjunction with KU and KU students in the art department.

“We’re going to get the whole community involved,” said Brown.

He estimated there are about 15 businesses that contributed prizes for contests they have been organizing for students.

What is the final outcome they hope to achieve?

“That we have a nicer Main Street that everybody likes each other and everybody is welcome,” said Brown.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.