Manhattan sous-chef Jared Nied was honored by the Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday for leading a group of New Yorkers in removing anti-Semitic graffiti on a subway car.
Nied boarded an uptown subway on Feb. 4 when he noticed swastikas drawn in Sharpie marker on every window, door and wall on the train car’s surfaces. One subway map even have the words “Jews belong in the oven” written across it with a swastika.
Knowing that alcohol can remove marker, Nied reached for hand sanitizer and tissues and got to work erasing the hate.
His actions then inspired others to help.
“I’ve never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purel,” wrote Gregory Locke, in a message on Facebook that went viral. “Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone.”
Scrubbing off the offensive words and symbols made the passengers reflect on their hateful meaning, according to Locke.
” ‘I guess this is Trump’s America,’ said one passenger,” Locke recalled, and then replied to the comment in his Facebook post. “No sir, it’s not. Not tonight and not ever. Not as long as stubborn New Yorkers have anything to say about it.”
The community activism got the attention of Chelsea Clinton, who shared her support by posting a screenshot of Locke’s post on Twitter. “We will not let hate win. And, another reason to carry hand sanitizer,” the daughter of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wrote.
Nied was honored with the ADL’s “Stand-Up New Yorker Award” — given to a recipient for initiating efforts to denounce hate or taking immediate action in helping others who were singled out for bigotry.
“It’s overwhelming but in a really positive way,” Nied told PIX-11. “I’ve certainly never been this famous before, but it feels really good to be getting attention for all the right reasons.”
“It just felt fantastic to be able to fight hate,” he added.
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ADL NY Regional Director Evan Bernstein praised Nied. “To be a leader is a difficult thing to be,” Bernstein said, per PIX-11. “He did the hardest thing, which was to be the first one and that’s why we felt we needed to honor him. We need more New Yorkers to do what Jared did to stand up in the face of hate and when you see something do something — and that’s exactly what he did. We think he’s the perfect example of what we hope all New Yorkers can do.”
As for the person or people behind the graffiti, Nied had harsh words.
“Whoever wrote that is a terrible person,” Nied reportedly said. “I think we are all intrinsically good and the majority want to be good but whoever wrote that you are a horrible person and a disgrace to humanity.”