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How this poster aims to embrace difference

"All are welcome" poster by Friends of Immigrants, distributed July 2018. Submitted photo1 / 2
Helene Olson-Reed (left) discusses the poster project with collaborators (left to right) Lucy Richardson, Mark Ryan, Jane Lorentzen, Williams Ortiz, and Nancy McCleary. Sarah Hansen / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

By now, you may have noticed a new poster hanging around town that shares the message "all are welcome" in English, Spanish, Chinese, sign language and many other languages.

This campaign is a project of the Friends of Immigrants, who hosted a conversation about Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in November 2017, and continue to work on behalf of minority people living in Red Wing.

Through this message, they are hoping to extend the Golden Rule (treating others as you wish to be treated) to the Red Wing community and encourage residents to live and embrace the idea that Red Wing is welcoming for people of all races and backgrounds.

"This project started because of concern — both about the national and local dialogue — about unfriendliness to people who are unlike us," said Jane Lorentzen. "We as a group, the Friends of Immigrants, feel like we can't change things on a national level, but we can impact what's happening locally and we care to make this be a place where people feel welcome and cared about."

"As a minority, I think what I would like is to have people see this and be able to have a smile on their face, much like I did when I saw the Live Healthy Red Wing signs in English and Spanish," said Williams Ortiz Arzmendi, program and services coordinator at Hispanic Outreach of Goodhue County. "That sort of feeling like I feel welcome and included in this community."

Two-hundred posters were printed and distributed to businesses and community spaces throughout Red Wing that support the group's mission of inclusiveness. The City of Red Wing and the Human Rights Commission also support this project. Funding for the posters came from a grant provided by Thrivent Financial.

Mark Ryan, chair of the HRC and former member of the Red Wing School Board, said "I was floored by the diversity of our student body. You talk to people and they don't believe it's happening. We're getting an influx of new people that are moving into our community and they're bringing with them new cultures and new ideas, and new can be scary, but new should also be welcome."