In the wake of Charlottesville, many top business executives have begun to stand up and publicly condemn hate by resigning from business councils, denouncing the use of their brands by hate groups, and denying service to hate group websites. As small business and startup founders, we also have a significant part to play in fighting hate. This week, we’re sharing a few ways you can use your business or business idea to fight against hatred and bigotry.
Show Your Business Stands Against Hate
Find ways to show your community that your business stands against hate. Join Main Street Alliance and small businesses across the country in the Hate Has No Business Here campaign by downloading and displaying the poster in your storefront or office window and joining the #HateHasNoBizHere conversation on social media. Also, if you find a hate group has started co-opting your business’ brand and images, quickly issue a public statement to denounce it. Last but not least, recognize that as a business owner, you can choose to refuse service to customers or choose to not work with people who threaten your security or the security of your customers and community by espousing hatred and bigotry.
Use Your Business for Community Organizing
Look at how your business can get involved in community organizing. For example, if you decide to keep your business open during a white nationalist rally in your area, consider letting people know that your business is open in protest or that it is a safe space for people to come inside for help. Maybe even organize an event at your business during the rallies. A couple local businesses in our area, Viscera Studio and Laurel Book Store, are open and organizing fundraisers for nonprofits who are combating racism and bigotry during the planned rally in the San Francisco Bay Area. Drop by this Saturday, have a piece a cake, and donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Don’t Let Hate Stop Your Business Plans
There is always an element of anxiety in starting and running a business, and with the current environment, there is an unprecedented level of uncertainty for most entrepreneurs we speak with. But, allowing this fear to stand in the way of pursuing your business plans plays right into the ongoing scare tactics that are dividing our nation. As I wrote in a previous blog post, the current chaos presents entrepreneurs with significant opportunity to bring forward and create businesses that uplift the movement, fight against hate, and make our communities more resilient. As such, it’s important that we keep a focus on building and making our businesses stronger and more impactful in the fight against hate, and create the world we want to see.