After people’s homes were vandalized with racial slurs in two separate incidents, Stow community members wanted to show that hate is not what their city is about.

More than 50 people showed up for the We Walk United Peaceful Walk at Stow City Hall on Sunday afternoon beneath gray skies and drizzling rain.

Stow resident Amy Aloisi organized the peace walk after someone wrote the N-word on an apartment door in the city last month. That came just months after someone drew a swastika and wrote the same word at the home of James and Elizabeth Bell, Aloisi’s neighbors.

The Bells, who have lived in Stow for 12 years, said they don’t know who spray-painted the racial epithets in the street in front of their house last May.

“I have never felt threatened living here until now,” Elizabeth Bell said.

“It’s almost a shame you have to be in a place where you still have to have an event like this,” James Bell added.

But the support that came Sunday afternoon showed many people are backing them up.

Community members young and old showed up for the walk. Many were from Redemption Chapel in Stow and Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, but others, including Mayor Sara Kline, were there as well.

“I’m shocked so far. I thought it’d just be me, the mayor and the kids,” Aloisi said. “I had no expectations. I just feel the way I feel.”

Aloisi’s four kids — Ray, 15, Marianne, 13, Paula, 11, and Jimmy, 10 — were at the walk as well, helping lead the way.

“We’re here to support the city,” Marianne said. “That’s not what should happen in Stow, and we feel like we need to take control.”

The crowd gathered near the Doughboy statue at the corner of Graham and Darrow roads around 2 p.m., where Aloisi kicked it off with a few short words.

“You guys ready to walk?” she asked.

With that, a line of colorful umbrellas began parading into grayness down Graham Road and around City Hall.

As they walked, Aloisi’s kids posted themselves along Graham Road, holding signs that said “We Welcome Diversity” and garnered the occasional car beep. People weren’t chanting anything — just sloshing through slush, slipping on icy sidewalks and splashing in puddles.

But they were also chatting with one another, sharing stories and getting to know each other as they walked a few laps around the green.

“To hear that [the N-word] is being written on someone’s door is just tragic,” said Rick McKee, lead pastor at Redemption Chapel. “We have a big heart for racial reconciliation.”

By the end of the walk, the Bells still carried bad feelings about the incident.

But they said the city has shown a lot of support in quickly removing the slur from in front of their yard, and Sunday showed them that community members are there to give them support as well.

“I think it’s great there are so many people out here to show support and show that we don’t need hate in this town,” Elizabeth Bell said.

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @Theresa_Cottom