“Business Against Bigotry” Initiative and “We Welcome Everybody” Graphics
Window decals based on the design below now are available free upon request (even the postage!) to help spread a message of inclusivity and respect at businesses, schools, religious institutions, homes and workplaces in your community.
In early 2015, we created signs and graphics for businesses and organization to help stand against localized outbreaks of bigotry. More widespread problems following the 2016 U.S. elections, including reports from member business colaitions, inspired us to produce window decals and an action plan to help our local affiliates take a lead in countering bigotry (details below). We hope the decals and graphics 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!
This image is optimized for posting on Twitter. You also are welcome to use it on a web page (please link back to this page). Click to enlarge, then right-click to download.
You also can download a banner sized for your Twitter home page
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 for free adaptation and co-branding by non-profits or businesses continent-wide to create 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 — ideally partnering with other local organizations, churches, etc. These forums aim to host people of diverse perspectives for challenging discussions — organized and facilitated to help deepen understanding, defuse confrontations and ultimately create local action plans for safer and more respectful communities. While other related programs exist, we believe local business coalitions are uniquely positioned to attract people that may not feel comfortable joining forums presented by groups with obvious political or cultural agendas. Events are planned for spring-summer of 2017 in Milwaukee, Louisville, New Orleans and Phoenix, with one more site TBD.
- Creating radio public service announcements conveying how diversity strengthens local economies and community, to be made freely available for broadcast on radio anywhere.
To learn more detailed plans, discuss sponsorship or explore partnering in this initiative in any way, please contact us. Thanks to Open Societies Foundations for support that enabled much of this initiative.
Know others who might like to see this letter or the graphics? Tweet this page!
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).
News and Resources
Six Steps to Speak Up is one useful reference to help you effectively counter bigotry
Scapegoating of Immigrants Is Dangerous, Inaccurate, August 2017 commentary by AMIBA campaigner Drew Callaghan
Book Review: Immigrant, Inc. is a timely read exploring the key role immigrants play in entrepreneurship & innovation in the U.S.
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