Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has teamed up with local organizers in Newton and Needham to bring awareness of the national human rights campaign #OpenToAll to its members and the business community at large.
The effort focuses on distributing signs and stickers for store windows and logos for businesses’ websites which declare: “We Stand With the LGBTQ Community. We are Open to All.”
The campaign began in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case which found in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. An effort by the national Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national organization fighting for the rights of the LGTBQ community was brought to the chamber’s attention by Tracy McKay and Sarah Keselman, two Needham women who are passionate about protecting the rights of the LGTBQ community and wanted to do something locally.
“When I saw HRC’s Open To All campaign signs, I knew that I wanted to bring them here to Needham,” said McKay. “In the current environment, I think it is so important that we actively demonstrate our acceptance and support for a group whose civil rights are under attack. I’m thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response that we have received from the community so far!”
Newton’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Health & Education Linda Walsh and Holly Ryan, the LGBTQ+ Liaison in the office of the Mayor, quickly jumped on board with the immediate support of the city’s Human Rights Commission.
“In the City of Newton we want all people living, working, going to school and visiting to always feel welcome and safe,” said Ryan. “This collaboration with the Newton business community, the Newton Human Rights Commission and the mayor's office shows once again that we celebrate the diversity of our city and the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.”
To participate in the #OpenToAll campaign, businesses can click here and request a free poster or window decal that will be delivered by a campaign volunteer. The signs and logos can also be downloaded for printing or for placement online. The chamber’s campaign announcement went out Wednesday afternoon and within hours 40 businesses had signed up to display the signs.
Feedback from chamber members was swift and overwhelmingly positive. “One member asked if we could deliver signs to all 13 of her company’s locations throughout the region,” said Lise Elcock, the chamber’s membership director. “Others took the time to send the chamber a personal thank you for sending out the email on behalf of this important campaign.”
Newton or Needham businesses interested in obtaining an #OpenToAll sign to display at their place of business or website can submit a request by clicking here.