Poster Drives Says: ‘We Welcome People’

Poster Drives Says:

‘We Welcome People’

Duo Aims To Distribute 50 Village-Wide

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Mary Anne Whelan of Cooperstown has gotten permission to place a “Cooperstown Welcomes People” post in the Village Library hallway, and is seeking to distribute 50 community-wide. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

COOPERSTOWN – The posters began appearing around Cooperstown about a week ago:  “Cooperstown Welcomes People of All Faiths from All Nations,” with red, white and blue stripe across the middle.

There’s one on the Village Library bulletin board at 22 Main, another in The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.  Alex’s Bistro has one in the front window, Bruce Hall in the side window.

Mary Anne Whelan, the retired Bassett physician, said in an interview today the posters were her idea.    “I’ve never done anything like this before,” she added.

She had 50 printed, and she and Sam Wilcox have been placing them where they can.  “Sam took the left side” of Main Street, “I took the right side,” she said.

While Dr. Whelan intended the posters simply as an expression of common humanity in the context of the Trump Administration’s tightening of immigration regulations, she found, “It’s gotten embedded in a political context.”

When she approached businesses in the downtown and Cooperstown Commons, all expressed support for her intent.  But some businesses said  they did not want to antagonize potential customers, others said they lacked space in their windows, and still others observed “you know what can happen” if a sign in a plate-glass window provokes.

Dr. Whelan suggested to Mayor Jeff Katz that the Village of Cooperstown put the poster on its website.  Instead, he thought it might be a better idea to put a statement passed by the Village Board in December proclaiming Cooperstown a “welcoming community” instead.

As of today, there is a link, “Welcoming Community Resolution,” under “News” on the right side of www.cooperstownny.org

However, Whelan said, “This is a better statement to put out.”   The trustees’ resolution “condemn(s) the use of violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric.”   The poster is more positive.  “We say, ‘we welcome,’” she said.

The Rev. Elsie Rhodes, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, told Whelan would take a poster and also present the option to other village pastors at their weekly ecumenical meetings.   The church’s board developed a statement presented to the Village Board the meeting trustees adopted the similar resolution.

The sponsor of the village resolution, Trustee Richard Sternberg, also requested a poster, she continued.

As of today, Dr. Whelan was unsure how many posters have been distributed, but planned to reconnoiter with Wilcox on Monday to get a count.  Also available are related bumper stickers.

If you would like to hang a poster, e-mail Dr. Whelan at mawhelan@capital.net.  The posters are large – 18 by 24 inches – and, since there are a limited number, she is looking for spots with maximum visibility.


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