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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Same-sex Napa couple counter neighbor’s intolerance with uplifting sentiments

NAPA — A couple in Napa say they’re fighting hate with positivity in response to what they call antisemitic, racist and homophobic messages displayed on their neighbor’s front lawn.

Tracy Mayne and Cody Hart live in the city’s Browns Valley neighborhood. They’ve made it their mission to fight back against offensive messages posted daily in their neighbor’s front yard.

“As long as there’s hate, we will be out there,” Mayne said.

The neighbor did not want to talk on camera but he says the only thing he’s doing is posting the truth.

Mayne and Hart realized their neighbor had the same right to free speech as they do. So, instead of escalating the situation, they decided to fight words with words.

“You can’t stop him but you can drown him out. If you’ve ever sung in a chorus, there’s always someone that’s a little off key and all you need to do is make sure the people on key sing louder. And you drown out that hate.”

They have rented a truck and parked it in front of their neighbor’s home. “Hate is not a Napa value” is written on the side of the truck in bold red letters.

“You can’t combat hate with hate or hate with anger. You become that when you do that and they win,” Mayne said.

Mayne and Hart contend their neighbor’s intolerance has actually helped bring the community together.

“Sometime out of hate comes good and he has — not his intent I think — he has mobilized this community in a wonderful way,” Mayne said.

As a Jewish man on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Mayne posted an additional sign on the back of his truck, signed by him and his son.

Cody Hart couldn’t be more proud of his partner, even though it has put them both in the spotlight.

“I tend to go ‘What are you doing? Why are you getting involved?’ But I’m glad. He’s much more adventurous and I love him for that,” Hart said.

They say they have been overwhelmed by the community’s positive response.

“So what we want is for the community to be mobilized against hate speech and antisemitism and racism and homophobia because it is happening. We’re not going to put that genie back in the bottle unless all of us get together and work together to put it back,” Mayne said.

The neighbor told KPIX he has received a lot of support from the community as well and that has motivated him to keep posting the messages.

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