A terrified mum was forced to remove a Black Lives Matter poster she had put in her window after thugs mobbed her home and demanded it be taken down.
Jessica O’Shea, 30, put up the poster featuring a hand print of her toddler daughter Aida, 11 months, in her window to show her solidarity for the protest movement
But within half an hour a group of people started banging on her window demanding she take it down and shouting “All Lives Matter.”
Jessica, fearing for her own safety, took the poster down.
She said: “I just felt like it was pointless anyone doing anything – it was going to fall on deaf ears.
“It’s so hard to explain to people how you feel when you are the person that isn’t white and putting it up.
“Saying ‘All lives matter’ is selfish and offensive and is another way of silencing the people who are trying to ensure their children see someone that looks like their families in the books at school, someone who looks like their great-grandparents on the WWII display and not just for one day a year as tokenism.
“We’ve come to terms that it’s not going to happen in our lives, therefore Black Lives Matter is about the children.
“It is about where we can make positive changes for the next generation.”
Stunned Jessica took the poster down after the backlash because she feared reprisals from bigots.
However, when she wrote on a local Facebook group about her ordeal, her community rallied round in support.
And a nearby business has even printed copies of her poster for locals to display in their houses in solidarity.
Jessica, a teacher, said the reaction “restored her faith” in humanity and she was “overwhelmed” with the support she received.
She later reinstated the poster in her window at her home in Rodley, Leeds, but admits she is still nervous after her ordeal.
She added: “I was overwhelmed with the amount of people who said nice things.
“It just goes show you how many good people there are out there. It’s amazing what everyone has done.
“Even now I’m still nervous. But Black Lives Matter is a whole movement and everyone needs to play their part.
“If it’s just me putting a poster in my window and going to sleep worried, then that may be something I just have to do.”
Jessica said she was grateful for the support she received, but said that people need to harness the momentum of the movement to “continually reinforce equality”.
She added: “To everyone that has shown support and solidarity from one single poster – thank you for showing your love and kindness for humanity.
“Let’s continue to educate our children so peace can become normality.”
Alex Rogerson, 36, who runs Grumpy’s Bar and Wood-fired Pizza created a batch of Jessica’s posters for people to take from outside the restaurant.
She said: “I was shocked by what happened. Our community is really close-knit and supportive – that’s what I’ve experienced as a local business owner.
“The fact that it has a child’s handprint on it – people would have known that there was a child in the house.
“And when she said she took it down I just thought ‘Oh, don’t do that!’
“I noticed someone had printed out her poster and thought that was a brilliant idea and really empowering.
“I have a printer and am a graphic designer so I printed some off and put them at the restaurant so people could grab one, as there were a lot of people saying they would like a copy.”