This story can be summed up in three words: You Are Beautiful.
The phrase is now hanging on the side of the Apple Tree Supermarket in Ocean Beach thanks to Stephanie La Bue Robles. She lives in Ocean Beach and thought it would be the perfect place for that phrase.
“Even though we’re a small town, we have a big heart,” said Robles. “It’s for everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, what you’re doing, you are beautiful.”
There’s a lot more to the story behind those words, and it begins a decade and a half ago.
In 2002, a designer in Chicago named Matthew Hoffman put the phrase on a sticker. It caught on. Soon, signs with those three words were all over the Chicago area. There are now about five million of those stickers all over the world, and thousands of pictures on social media with the hashtag #YABSticker. Most recently, YAB is trying to get one of those signs up in all 50 states.
Stephanie La Bue Robles wrote a letter asking for Ocean Beach to be the chosen spot for California. She said she didn’t expect to get picked over larger cities like L.A. and San Francisco, both known for their public art and murals. But then she got a message that her letter was chosen.
“I was so excited,” she said. “This mural is more than me. It’s something that’s going to last forever, and I want future generations to see this and know this message.”
It’s a message we could probably use in the present as well. With the state of politics in this country and so much talk about disagreement, Robles and others in Ocean Beach said this is the perfect time for a simple positive message.
“Anytime is a good time to spread positivity, but especially now,” said Robles. “I feel like the best way to combat negativity and hate is through love and compassion and spreading that around because we’re all on the same team.”