What’s a ‘No Hate Space,’ and Why Should You Become One?

It’s a simple change that makes a world of difference. Learn how to turn your small business into a No Hate Space.
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No Hate Space’s logo features two safety pins joined together in a heart shape. It was created by group member Tan Nguyen, a Columbus graphic designer. (Photo: No Hate Space)

As you prepare your small business for what will hopefully be a lucrative and festive holiday season, it’s easy to lose sight of simple connections between your business and the surrounding community. For a group of entrepreneurs, artists and community leaders in Columbus, Ohio, those connections aren’t just valuable; they’re essential.

That’s why they created No Hate Space, a movement that’s steadily growing beyond the Ohio capital with a goal of keeping Columbus a hate-free city. You can see their logo on store windows, lawns and on social and news media.

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Musicologie, a Columbus music school, displays its No Hate Space poster. (Photo: No Hate Space)

Who they are

Co-founders Tan Nguyen and Paloma Martinez-Cruz are East Coast transplants and were happy to find diversity in LGBTQ and minority groups when they moved to Columbus. But, they acknowledge there’s still plenty of work to be done – and that starts with grassroots movements like No Hate Space.

Related: How to Create a Culture of Kindness in Your Small Business

“We made wonderful friends and connections quickly and found a real home here in such a short amount of time – I think because people here are so helpful and have a lot of Columbus pride,” Nguyen said. “We think there are many in Columbus that hope businesses will create a welcoming space for all this holiday season, especially for those in at-risk communities.”

Nguyen, a local graphic designer, created a logo and designed downloadable materials on the group’s website, https://nohate.space. The posters, she said, represent “a visual act of kindness countering all the hateful messages we’re seeing online and off.”

What it means

The founders “wanted to see something positive and inspiring to get a simple message out to at-risk communities that may be feeling threatened: No hate is welcome in a space where it is displayed,” the group said.

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Virtue Vegan Salon in Columbus is a No Hate Space. (Photo: No Hate Space)

“We believe that there are many business owners who are looking to provide a positive message during this holiday season, and we can help them show they value the entire Columbus community through this action,” said co-founder Paloma Martinez-Cruz, an associate professor of Latino cultural and literary studies at Ohio State University.

“It’s great to know where we can shop to support businesses that don’t allow hate against their customers. These are the business leaders in the community we want to support,” said Catherine Romanos, a family doctor in Columbus.

Musicologie, a music school in neighboring Grandview Heights, was one of the first businesses to get on board.

“Learning a new instrument can sometimes make you feel vulnerable,” owner Jay Barker said. “This was a perfect way to show all our students that Musicologie is a comfortable, positive, accepting environment.”

In today’s social media-heavy world, hate speech can spread wide and fast and have lasting damage, Nguyen said. “We want to fill our social-media feeds with images of love and safety instead.”

How to get involved

Almost three dozen businesses in central Ohio have designated themselves as No Hate Spaces, and the group is always looking for more. Check out https://nohate.space for more information and free file downloads to print and share. And get your #nohatespace hashtags ready.

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