As the national dialogue simmers with hateful speech prior to presidential primary voting, the local business owners at the heart of America’s main street economy are fanning the flames of a rapidly-growing movement to drown out hate speech with a message of unity.
The #HateHasNoBizHere slogan was first tweeted by Common Roots Cafe, a member of the Seattle-based Main Street Alliance branch in Minneapolis Minnesota, along with the message “All Are Welcome Here.” The Main Street Alliance works to serve as the voice of small business in America in the most pressing public policy issues across the nation. Their message now? America’s diversity is its greatest strength.
The free “All Are Welcome Here” poster is being downloaded from the organization’s website and posted on local business storefronts across the country, reports Mother Jones. The poster states in no uncertain terms what the Main Street Alliance supporters’ position is in the current national security debate.
“We stand with our Muslim community members. We stand with refugees and immigrants in our community.”
Businesses around the country have shared their support.
And politicians are weighing, as well.
As political rhetoric encouraging discrimination based on ethnicity and religion heats up, a growing number of hashtag campaigns are consolidating the message of America’s more peaceful sensibilities around phrases like #WeAreBetterThanThis, #RealAmericans and #WeAreAllMuslim. The multiple campaigns are adding momentum to the positive message, which the Main Street Project says on its website is the real way to combat America’s insecurity.
“This swell of hate and fear permeating our national dialogue is dangerous. We believe it must be met head-on with clear statements of principle from local business owners because we are leaders in our communities.”
Small businesses aren’t the only organizations seeking to encourage dialogue and messaging supporting immigrants and Muslims. #WeAreBetterThanThis was started by a “supergroup” of human rights supporters, including artists, corporate business leaders, political leaders, and others. The pledge on their website appeals to the nation to consider the consequences of divisive rhetoric.
“When has hate ever led to progress? Is this really what we want America to be? We are better than this.”
Politicians are taking sides on and off social media. In one of many public addresses by Democratic candidates declaring the importance of unity and tolerance, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recently joined religious leaders of various faiths to address a crowd gathered at a mosque in Washington with a message of support, reported the Washington Post.
“We must never forget what happened under the racist ideology of the Nazis, which led to the deaths of millions and millions of people, including family members of mine,” said Sanders, who is Jewish.
Democratic hopeful Martin O’Malley recently visited a Virginia mosque to express solidarity with the Muslim community.
Strength at home is not just about security. It’s about our values. It is about our ability to do justice. It is about our compassion.— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) December 15, 2015
In spite of growing local support for #HateHasNoBizHere and other campaigns for strong community and national unity, messages spreading the opposing view, that the only way to keep America safe is to demonize swaths of its own citizenry, is still very much alive and well. In an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday, Donald Trump, Donald Trump insisted his religious intolerance is in keeping with the views of not only ordinary Americans but also his “many friends who are Muslim,” reported the New York Daily News.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]