CHICAGO (WLS) -- Every Sunday night for the past three weeks, anti-transgender stickers have been placed on the front windows of the Women and Children First bookstore in Andersonville.
"The first time it happened there was only one. The next time there were two, and most recently there were four stickers," co-owner Sarah Hollenbeck said.
At first, Hollenbeck and her employees didn't want to draw attention to the hateful acts. But after the third stickering, they'd had enough.
So they requested the help of their above stairs neighbor, the Chicago Therapy Collective, and organized an outdoor art event. Sunday evening, bookstore employees, the collective and community members took to the streets of Andersonville with a mission: to let the trans community in their neighborhood know that they were loved.
"We didn't want to further harm trans people in our response to the situation or cause more negative attention," store manager H. Melt said. "We wanted to do was reaffirm our commitment to trans inclusion and make our trans employees, myself included, feel safer and make sure they know that we have their backs."
More than 100 people came out and covered the Clark Street with sidewalk chalk and spray paint with messages of affirmation. Quotes like "you belong here," "you are loved" and "transgender rights are human rights" were scattered along the block.
"We're drawing trans-affirmative art all over the sidewalk just to show everyone that Andersonville is trans-welcoming, trans-inclusive and trans-safe," said Elise Malary, Chicago Therapy Collective community advocate.
"I want a safe world for trans people," H. Melt added. "Part of that is working with your neighbors, working with your coworkers, working with your community members to reaffirm everyone's safety."