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University Janitor Counters Racism With Kindness

After racist incidents at Syracuse University, Keri Courtwright takes action
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2019 2:50 PM CST

(Newser) – Restoring your hope in humanity today: Keri Courtwright. The 35-year-old works the night shift as a janitor at Syracuse University, a school that's been investigating racist graffiti found on campus this month. Courtwright is no stranger to graffiti, and like all janitors has "graffiti cleaner" among her supplies. But what she's seeing these days is angrier—an Asian slur she had to scrub away last week, for instance—and so she's doing something about it, "something to get the good energy back out there," she tells Syracuse.com. On Monday Courtwright showed up for work with some new additions on her cart: scotch tape and dozens of inspirational quotes printed on small squares of paper.

She taped 30 of them on doors and bathroom mirrors, signs like "We are different and that's beautiful," and "A lot of people just need someone to be kind today." But when she got to work Tuesday morning, most were gone. It saddened her, but didn't dissuade her: She told the paper she planned to repeat the effort that evening. The AP notes that roughly 10 instances of racist vandalism, graffiti, and shouted slurs have recently been reported at the university. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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