In a Post-Trump Bay Area, Millennials Build a Wall of Empathy

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Tamilla Mirzoyeva didn't know how to help.

She'd seen how Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric against Mexicans, African Americans, women and others had divided the country and spurred racist and xenophobic harassment after his election win. As one who immigrated from Azerbaijan, a majority Muslim country, when she was 12, she was especially shaken by Trump's promise of a Muslim registry or watch-list.

And so, with friends, Mirzoyeva, 28, took a cue from a subway project in New York and brought Post-Its and Sharpies to BART stations at 16th and Mission, 24th and Mission and Montgomery Street. On walls and lampposts, they put up a few notes of their own, leaving behind a box of stickies and pens in case others wanted to join the public conversation.

Needless to say, people did. What was intended as a one-day event quickly ballooned, and the "Wall of Empathy" project continued for five  days.

While the Post-Its won't last in public forever, Mirzoyeva's public-art collective is chronicling each and every note on Instagram. And this won't be the last San Francisco sees of acts like this: the collective promises additional upcoming "radical acts of public art to counter the 'Trump effect.'"


As one of the notes at 16th and Mission says: "The work starts now."