This winter I had the opportunity to participate in a powerful community effort here in Pittsburgh. Many people lent their time and skills to make our anti-hate sign campaign a success, and in the end, this All Are Welcome Here poster, which Green Comma designed, has been posted in the windows of businesses and homes in all corners of our city. Print-ready PDFs of the sign, as an 8.5 x 11″ sign, a 11 x 17″ poster, or yard sign, are free for all to download and print from the Building Bridges PGH website. More and more appear each day in cafes, hair salons, schools, homes and offices across the city, as Pittsburghers come together to reach out a neighborly hand.
The campaign was truly a community effort, and I think it’s a story worth telling. Back in November, in the wake of an appalling hate crime committed at a restaurant in Bethel Park, concerned citizens came together online to discuss what could be done to combat the rising tide of hate in our community. One of the ideas put forward was a sign campaign. The signs would be offered to local businesses to post in their storefront as a sign of anti-hate solidarity, and to indicate that they were a “safe space.” Though there are already some national sign campaigns available, there was general consensus that for greater impact, Pittsburgh should have its own local campaign.
Local educator Amie Erickson organized the Building Bridges effort, beginning by creating an online poll for citizens to vote on slogan and poster design submissions. Slogans suggested included variations of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” “Yinz are All Welcome Here,” and “City of Bridges, Not Walls.” Green Comma’s design in black and gold with “Pittsburgh, City of Bridges, All Are Welcome Here” was selected with over 160 votes, and we worked to respond to commentary by many visitors and business owners, making sure each aspect of the sign was bold and legible. The word “welcome” was translated into seventeen languages, taking care to include the languages of Pittsburgh’s largest immigrant populations. Volunteers and native speakers double and triple checked the translations.
When the poster was finalized, local consulting agency Sequal Consulting offered to print 1000 as a launch. Over 40 volunteers stepped forward to offer their time as zone representatives and distributors for their neighborhoods, reaching neighborhoods from Bethel Park to the East End. Amie’s husband, a developer, made the signs available at the Building Bridges website, and Green Comma created a website banner and additional Facebook cover photos for those who wanted to spread the welcoming message through social media.
Volunteers who handed out the signs remarked that the experience was extremely uplifting, that the overwhelming majority of businesses approached were happy to have a way to show solidarity and support. Volunteers reported that many businesses requested additional signs, that homeowners wanted signs for their front doors as well, and that overall, the experience was restoring and hopeful. Thank you, Pittsburgh, for being what you are, the City of Bridges. Green Comma was extremely honored to have played a part in this effort.
Do you have an idea for a great social justice campaign that needs compelling visuals? Please send us a message – we’d love to talk!