July 6, By Jason Cohen
More than 20 Jackson Heights businesses that are part of the 82nd Street Partnership have joined the “Hate Has No Business Here” campaign, which launched last week in 21 Business Improvement Districts across the city.
The goal of the initiative is to inspire a conversation to combat narratives that purport racism, xenophobia, homophobia and misogyny, especially as they affect the city’s small-business community, according to organizers.
Participating businesses are displaying posters, fliers and postcards with the campaign logo featuring an American flag with a heart replacing the stars, designed to express the idea that love, kindness and acceptance are patriotic.
“People come here [Jackson Heights] from all over the state because of the diversity we have in our area,” said 82nd Street Partnership Executive Director Leslie Ramos, in explaining why her organization is behind the campaign.
She said it was important for the community to come together and look out for one another. She recalled an incident in March, when a Long Island man assaulted two transgender women on 82nd Street at McDonalds because of the sexuality.
Ramos said that between 25 and 30 Jackson Heights businesses have signed up and she feels more will join. With the recent spotlight on immigration, Ramos claims that Jackson Heights residents are feeling afraid and unsafe.
Furthermore, she claims that since Donald Trump was elected president, sales at local businesses are down. People are worried about being deported and are less focused on getting the shirts or shoes, Ramos believes.
“A lot of people are very cautious about how they spend their money now,” Ramos said.
Lily Urzua, owner of Urzua Center of Performing Arts, at 81-11 Roosevelt Ave, has joined the campaign.
“Humanity has no borders–same as art, same as love,” Urzua said. “Our differences are our beauty.”
The idea for a campaign originated with Amanda Neville, a wine shop owner in the Myrtle Avenue BID in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
“One of the business owners in our community was targeted with hateful comments via social media immediately after the election,” Neville said.
“Many of us along Myrtle Avenue were trying to speak out against divisiveness and hate. I thought it would be powerful to come together with one message, one visual to signal that we stand together, for each other.”
Campaign literature is translated into nine languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Korean, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and Urdu.
The group is also providing digital logos and fliers to others who wish to join their movement. For the free download and a full listing of participating BIDs, go to www.hatehasnobusinesshere.com