The La Crosse Shoulder to Shoulder Interfaith Group promotes tolerance and acceptance for all people. A new poster campaign is giving local businesses the chance to join in that message.
Wale Elegbede first saw a "Hate Has no Business Here" sign while shopping in Rochester, Minnesota.
"For me instantly, it was I want to actually patronize this business, because they really care about me," said Elegbede.
A local Muslim American and member of Shoulder to Shoulder, he decided to bring the national movement started by Main Street Alliance to La Crosse.
"It's kind of like our community traffic light," Elegbede said. "If we can have these signs in businesses, maybe that will have an impact on people being more tolerant."
Old Towne Strings was one of the first local businesses to hang up the poster along with People's Food Coop and Full Circle Supply.
"It's the differences among us that make us who we are as a community and such a rich area to live in," said Joella Striebel, co-owner of Old Towne Strings.
Michael Byrne, manager of the People's Food Co-op, said the campaign message aligns with what the co-op stands for.
"When we heard about this movement, we decided we needed to put this poster up, because we don't care who you are," Byrne said. "Everybody eats."
All three of the businesses report only positive feedback from customers who see the poster.
"I haven't heard anything negative at all from it," said Joshua Larson, co-owner of Full Circle Supply. "I've had more than a handful of people stop and say 'nice sign' as they're shopping here or just poke they're head in the door really quick and say something about it."
The main goal of the poster campaign is to make La Crosse stronger.
"It's really just standing as one community," Elegbede said.
Elegbede said tolerance is not a political issue. He hopes the signs will spark conversation between people from both sides of the aisle.
If you work in or own a business interested in hanging the "Hate Has no Business Here" poster, you can visit the La Crosse Shoulder to Shoulder Facebook page. You can download the poster or members of that group will provide you with printed posters at no cost.