Rising Hope: Out of London’s Chaos Emerges a ‘Wall of Love’

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Shoppers look at notes posted on a 'Peace Wall' on a boarded up window of a discount store in Peckham on August 10, 2011 in London, England.

A boarded-up shop in a London borough has become a Post-It-powered beacon of community pride and respect.

London’s riots proved incredibly destructive to many of the city’s neighborhoods as rioters smashed shop windows and torched cars and buildings. But amid the turmoil, one riot-torn neighborhood has banded together to prove their love for their community.

Using a smashed-up, boarded-up Poundland store as the mouthpiece for their messages, hundreds of multi-colored Post-Its filled the sheet of plywood that rests in the former plate-glass window of the shop.

(PHOTOS: London’s Violent Riots)

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Local theater company Peckham Shed kicked off the love-letter tribute Monday night when they posted hand-drawn signs spelling out “Why We Love Peckham.” The community quickly caught on to the love-fest, and by Wednesday the plywood was teeming with Post-Its promoting peace in Peckham.

Their messages – whether emotional, political or simply angry – are helping to galvanize the community in looking to the future. Handwritten notes pleaded for peace: “This is our home.” “We could make this a beautiful place to live.” And others cemented their love for community. “I love Peckham,” read many notes. “Peckham will survive.”

It’s a spontaneous sounding board for those impacted by London’s slow burn, providing a glint of hope that London will prevail over the past riotous weeks.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Workers have already started sizing up the window for a replacement. But the notes are not to be swept up in the cleanup. Local government officials tell the BBC that the Post-It paradise will be preserved in the Peckham Library.

And when the glass in the Poundland window is finally replaced, it is hoped that Peckham residents will see clearly through to a peaceful future.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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