CENTRE WELLINGTON – After a year marked by horrible crimes – notably the killing of George Floyd, the discovery of remains of 215 Indigenous children at a residential school near Kamloops and the hate-motivated murders of the Afzaal family in London – local activists wants to show support for diversity and inclusion in this community.
Elora resident Curt Hammond and Fergus resident Diane Ballantyne, also a county councillor, have started a campaign they hope will send a message to people experiencing hate and racism: there’s room in Centre Wellington for people of all faiths and ethnicities.
They are inviting local businesses and residents to purchase a sign to hang in a window or post on their lawn with the message, “Hate has no home here.”
“The issue is much bigger than signs,” Hammond said in an interview. “We realize this is just a simple, first step.
“We all need to ask ourselves what our role is to make sure this (hate) doesn’t happen again.”
The sign features hands of different skin colours holding icons from different inclusivity movements.
They include the Pride rainbow, Every Child Matters, icons representing diverse faiths, accessibility icons and Black Lives Matter imagery.
“We saw this design on the internet over the weekend and thought it was really powerful,” Hammond said.
“We quickly realized this is something we needed to invite everyone in Centre Wellington to participate in.”
Hammond said he hopes the signs will spark conversations about discrimination and how to build inclusive communities.
“There is no room in our community for hatred,” Ballantyne agreed.
“We cannot let what we have seen in London, in Indigenous communities and right here in Wellington County go unchecked or unchallenged.
“We know that it takes a community to stand up against hate and we hope these signs are a way for families and businesses to show their support for an inclusive and welcoming Centre Wellington.”
The signs are printed by Alpha Graphics and Signs and are suited for indoor or outdoor use. Each sign comes with a lawn stake for people to post in their yard.
They are available for $10 and can be picked up beginning June 25.
To help manage production, organizers are asking people to visit FourSimpleWords.ca/NoHate to pre-order a sign. Pick-up and payment details will be sent via email to those who do.
Officials are also encouraging people to use the hashtag #HateHasNoHomeHere on social media.
“As a white, straight man, I can’t say how big the issue is here,” Hammond said. “What I can do is make sure we are creating space for people who experience that kind of hate.”
Visit FourSimpleWords.ca/NoHate for more information or to place an order.