Greenport Village businesses will soon be able to make it clear they are part of a campaign to promote respect and civility in the community.
Southold’s Anti-Bias Task Force is moving along with plans to design and distribute stickers businesses can display on their storefronts to identify them as places that do not condone hateful language against any members of the community. The idea emerged from Synergy Greenport, a meeting last month between village residents and police officials that drew a crowd of nearly 100. A major talking point during the discussion was the safety of immigrants on the North Fork.
At the task force’s monthly meeting on Monday, co-chair Sonia Spar said business owners had expressed concern about incidents in which people were made to feel unwelcome in Greenport, so she and Southold government liaison officer Denis Noncarrow met with Greenport Business Improvement District president Rich Vandenburgh, co-owner of Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., who showed interest in the initiative.
Mr. Vandenburgh said a few things were pointed out at the Synergy meeting that he thought were valid.
“There are a lot of businesses that rely upon our immigrant population to keep them afloat and for me that really resonates,” he said. “For whatever reason, the apparent lack of tolerance that seems to be more prevalent now than I think it ever has been is really disappointing and discouraging.”
He said the stickers, which will likely carry a message along the lines of “Bias-free zone,” are a creative, clear and overt way for businesses to let people know they will not accept hateful language or divisive attitudes.
“That’s a reminder that we all have to remember that we need to be tolerant,” Mr. Vandenburgh said. “Respectful, law-abiding? Yes, but we also have to be tolerant of the different cultures that live and work among us, and if there’s a tangible way to demonstrate unity in the Business Improvement District that adopts that philosophy, certainly the BID wants to promote that as well.”
The task force is currently developing a design for the stickers and will work on expanding the idea throughout the entire town, Ms. Spar said.
Photo: Southold Town Anti-Bias Task Force co-chair Sonia Spar, left, at Monday’s meeting. (Credit: Krysten Massa)