NCCofC Members Spread Message of Inclusivity
Members of the Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce (NCCofC) will be displaying a “Welcome” message with a difference this Pride Month, thanks to an initiative launched by the organization that represents businesses in the Town of Cobourg and the Townships of Hamilton and Alnwick Haldimand.
The NCCofC designed and distributed hundreds of window stickers with the message: You Are Welcome Here – People of all gender identities, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, faiths and nationalities are welcome and safe in this place of business. The stickers promoting inclusivity were direct mailed to NCCofC Members last week, and a limited number are still available to businesses, upon request.
“We are very much aware of and advocating on behalf of businesses that we know could safely re-open to welcome their customers but are not yet allowed to,” explained Denise Liboiron, Chair of the NCCofC, “but this messaging goes beyond current restrictions and is representative of the character of our business community. Even displayed on doors that are temporarily closed to the public, these words of welcome and inclusivity are a reflection of the values that are intrinsic to our business community.”
When it became evident that Pride Month celebrations would be curtailed for a second year as a result of pandemic restrictions, the NCCofC was determined to find a way to help local businesses clearly demonstrate their open-door policy to members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and other marginalized individuals – something of a challenge at a time when many of those doors are forced to be closed!
“We are thrilled to see the Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce taking this action to show that not only are all welcome here, but that we have no room for bigotry or exclusion in this day and age” said Kim McArthur- Jackson, Co-Founder of Cobourg Queer Collective. “As part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community myself,” she added, “I will be actively looking for these symbols of inclusion when deciding on where to conduct business going forward.”
Ashley Bouman, leader of the local PFLAG Chapter and founding member of Northumberland Queeries, supported the initiative by stating “It is really important for local businesses to show that they are providing a positive and safe space where everyone can feel welcome and comfortably shop locally. Visual representation of acceptance in smaller towns is crucial to the visibility and acknowledgement of the local queer community.”
Kevin Ward, President & CEO of the NCCofC, summed up the organization’s latest initiative with the observation “We are very fortunate to live in a community that fosters and supports businesses that embrace diversity. We need to celebrate it loudly and proudly, and, when it’s safe, invite others to experience what true inclusivity looks like.”
The NCCofC “Inclusivity” stickers are available free of charge to any local business while supplies last.
Email chamber@NCCofC.ca to check availability.