“Business Against Bigotry” Initiative and “We Welcome Everybody” Graphics
In early 2015, the American Independent Business Alliance created a simple, shareable graphic for people, businesses and organizations to stand up against outbreaks of bigotry and for inclusion in their community. More widespread problems following the 2016 U.S. elections, including reports from member business coalitions, inspired us to produce window decals and an action plan to help our local affiliates and others take a lead in countering bigotry (details below).
In 2018, we added a menu of PSAs (public service announcements) to help spread the messages further via easy-to-use tools. We hope the decals, graphics and PSAs will help you send a clear message that your community and business reject discrimination of all kinds. You are welcome to use these graphics as-is on your website and social media pages — please link or tag us when posting!
Window decals shown below now are available free upon request (donations welcome) to help spread a message of inclusivity and respect at businesses, schools, religious institutions, homes and workplaces in your community.
Please read the conditions of use for placing AMIBA graphics on your website, social media, or materials.
Why We Suggest Small Businesses Take the Lead Locally
First, of course, is the moral imperative: We all should take responsibility to ensure everyone can walk the streets, do business and live their lives free of discrimination or concern about receiving verbal or physical abuse. But small business’ own well-being also is at stake. For one, a negative experience at one independent business can degrade a person’s perception of others – especially within that community. And if a person doesn’t feel safe from bigotry in your neighborhood, they’re far more likely to travel to one where they feel more welcome to do business – and for shopping, perhaps just buy online.
Sending a clear message to anyone entering your establishment can help, but educating employees also is essential. While we hope overt bigotry from an employee or business owner is a rarity, businesses should cultivate an environment in which all customers receive welcoming treatment, not merely an absence of hostility. A friendly verbal welcome and a smile always is good business, but especially so for people who stand out from others in your community. Small businesses also should consider educating their staff on how to protect customers in the event of harassment in or around their business without endangering their own safety.
Finally, we suggest business owners strive to hire and develop a diverse staff, including leadership positions, not only to model inclusiveness, but for their business’ success. Impartial studies have found businesses ranked toward the top for diversity in gender and race generate greater profit than less diverse ones! We welcome you to recommend additional materials to link on this page.
The graphics and signs are just one part of AMIBA’s work to help independent businesses and community business groups take a lead in reducing bigotry and fostering positive, healing community dialogue. The initiative also involves:
- Producing 50,000 “We Welcome Everybody” window decals to enable free distribution to businesses, churches, schools and organizations.
- Creating commentaries, resource reviews and other media that debunk common justifications for bigotry
- Designing and distributing advertisements to help build a small business voice against discrimination. Ads also will be offered in Spanish.
- Providing multiple “trainings of trainers,” from which participants will return home with experience and models to facilitate community forums partnering with other local organizations, churches, etc. These forums aim to host people of diverse perspectives for challenging discussions — facilitated to help deepen understanding and ultimately create local action plans for more respectful communities and broadly shared economic opportunities (contact us for details).
- Creating radio public service announcements conveying how diversity strengthens local economies and community. They are available free for broadcast on radio anywhere.
To learn more detailed plans, discuss sponsorship or explore partnering in this initiative in any way, please contact us.
Add your ideas! We welcome your suggestions on what else we can do/create in this initiative and invite you to contact us if you’d like to learn more about joining our volunteer working group on diversifying the Localization Movement (meets by conference call 4-6 times annually).
Know others who might like to see this letter or the graphics? Tweet this page!
News and Resources
How to Respond to Hate Speech by a Customer
Six Steps to Speak Up is one useful reference to help you effectively counter bigotry
Businesses Should Be Open to All, December 2017 commentary by Jeff Milchen on U.S. Supreme Court case involving discrimination by business
Scapegoating of Immigrants Is Dangerous, Inaccurate, August 2017 commentary by AMIBA campaigner Drew Callaghan
The Welcoming Economies Playbook Strategies for Building an Inclusive Local Economy. A free book (pdf) from Welcoming America
Book Review: Immigrant, Inc. is a timely read exploring the key role immigrants play in entrepreneurship & innovation in the U.S.
Despite research indicating companies with more diversity, and particularly more women in leadership, offer higher returns on capital, lower risk and greater innovation than firms without such leadership, Wall Street continues to remain predominantly male at the top. Its trading floors swarm with 90 percent men.
Nationally, immigrants comprise 13 percent of the population, but comprise 28 percent of Main Street business owners, says a 2015 report, How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow. Related resource: Low-Skilled Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Northshire Bookstore Responds to Free Speech Threat (January 2016)
A Manhattan Hardware Store Welcomes Refugees as Governors Vow to Shut Them Out (November 2015)
Not In Our Town helps communities, law enforcement and schools stop hate crimes and bullying by fostering inclusive, welcoming communities
The Economic Case for Welcoming Immigrant Entrepreneurs 2015 Kauffman Foundation report
Resources for Building Inclusive Local Economies
Six Conversations Methodology (Google Doc)
The Welcoming Economies Playbook: Strategies for Building an Inclusive Local Economy (from Welcoming America)
Economics of Compassion Initiative website and Brief (PDF)
Economics of Compassion History (Google Doc)
Recursos de AMIBA en Español
Resources for Indian Business Alliances (AMIBA)