During a recent trip this summer to Asheville, N.C., I found a sign welcoming all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual preference, etc. displayed in the windows of every local shop and restaurant I visited.
I learned the appearance of these signs wasn’t a city-lead effort, but the act of a Good Samaritan.
I immediately reached out to the City of Orlando, a city that’s already deeply committed to embracing people from all walks of life. There are many wonderful programs currently in place, including the initiative to display a decal that’s a symbol of safety for victims of hate crimes.
But what about signs like these in our local business windows? What if every local business in the Central Florida area displayed a sign that welcomes residents and visitors from all walks of life? What if every resident and visitor feels respected and valued walking around our beautiful city?
With the help of a friend in graphic design, I created an “Orlando-version” of the sign to canvas our city and surrounding areas with copies to display in local business windows. I started calling this project #OrlandoForAll.
And while this little movement originally started in Orlando, it has now expanded to Tampa, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Boston and three cities in California so I’ve re-branded it #LoveForAll.
This isn’t a political or religious statement. It’s a statement of love in a city that has plenty of it. And who doesn’t love LOVE? Love is so much bigger than politics.
This summer, the signs in Asheville moved me. They represented every value I was raised to believe and embrace. I’m working so hard now to instill these same values in my daughter. I don’t want her to grow up in a world filled with so much hate. I believe hate comes from fear and the only way to fight hate and fear is with love. The family trip to Asheville was in July. Now, in December there are more than 500 signs displayed in local businesses in Central Florida alone.
Funded by Orlando, FL (December 2018)