If only people would listen to Chris Bailey, the world might be a kinder and gentler place. His hometown of Trophy Club agrees.
The town council, at its June 26 meeting, approved an ordinance declaring July 7 as Everybody Love Everybody Day. It is to commemorate the many people who have died from a plethora of unnecessary causes, mostly violence, in recent years.
The ordinance is the brainchild of council member Alicia Fleury. The idea came to her after more closely studying Bailey and his campaign of holding up a sign with the simple message on the side of the road for passers-by to see. He started after the shooting death of five Dallas police officers (and injury to nine others) on July 7, 2016.
"Chris is a compassionate and committed person who has a message for all of us," Trophy Club Mayor Nick Sanders said. "The community of Trophy Club is better because Chris has reminded us to be loving.
"Councilwoman Alicia Fleury has once again helped lead the council in our mission of making Trophy Club a great place to call home."
Photos and videos of Bailey holding his sign at various places have gone viral. He has thousands of social media followers. And he tries to stand and display his sign -— sometimes with the help of others -— in as many places as possible around the Metroplex for 30 to 60 minutes every day.
And he's especially proud that his hometown has recognized the meaning behind his efforts.
"I love my little town. Such a wonderful little bubble we live in. It’s a safe place for my kids to grow up," Bailey said, adding that he was honored when Fleury reached out to him following a post he'd made on social media about making July 7 a special day of memory.
"While I do want others to get out and spread love on a day that was filled with so much hate two years ago, 'international' was very tongue in cheek.” My little town did their part, though," he said.
Bailey first posted the three words "Everybody love everybody" on Facebook the day after the shooting, and the first response was "That's impossible." That prompted him to go get a simple piece of cardboard, write the words on it, and stand to display the message to passers-by at the crime scene.
"While it was a very somber experience arising from the most tragic of circumstances, it was also a very positive experience. His vision of tackling all the hate by spreading love (without politics) took the world by storm," Fleury said. "Since my term began last year, it has been a goal of mine to promote awareness for important issues facing our community."
More than 361 police officers have been killed in the line of duty nationwide, with Texas suffering the most deaths at 29, since 2016, according to statistics in the ordinance. Mental illness has played a part in about 25 percent of shootings in 2017.
More than 200 school shootings have occurred since 2012. Each year 1.4 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence, with suicide and homicide accounting for more than 80 percent.
As for Trophy Club, Fleury cited statistics that show Trophy Club had only 165 crimes in 2017 and 2018 combined, including no murders or rapes, and only one robbery.
Bailey said he has folks daily tell him his sign makes them smile, and that's enough for him to keep coming back. He also likes it when parents tell him the influence his movement has had on their children.
"We really, really, really have to work on the kids. We’re planting seeds. Our kids can change the world, but they need us to show them how," Bailey said. "I need some help. I don’t want to be the only guy doing this. I don’t want or need the spotlight. I would love to see pictures of others posted on July 7 with their signs."
If Fleury has her way, not only will he see those signs this year, but in years to come.
"This movement is nonpolitical, with the sole purpose of spreading love, not hate," Fleury said. "It is our hope that our residents, young and old, make signs and spread the love, promoting kindness and compassion."