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Example of Authorized Use of the WIMBY sign and pledge:

So we canvassed the neighborhood, not thoroughly, but just to talk to who might be home on one or two weekend afternoons. As a pair of two people (thus utilizing the power of pairing), we knocked on doors and said we were from the Welcome in My Back Yard campaign and that “we are going door to door to talk about community concern about the recent” swastika burning in the neighborhood . For “swastika burning in the neighborhood”, one would substitute the description of the relevant incident. If the neighbor didn’t know about it, we were prepared with a written description that was prepared in advance and was fact checked, one that described the date of the Ann Arbor News article about the incident. We did not have a handout of any kind about the incident. Instead, we relied upon verbal communication. Such handouts are fraught with difficulty and should not be used with the WIMBY campaign. They are subject to error and prone to being used as a soapbox, which defeats the principles of the WIMBY campaign. Remember, the WIMBY campaign is just one way to respond to a bias incident. If activists wish to leaflet the neighborhood, call a rally, or respond in any other manner, that is fine. But the WIMBY campaign material should not be used in conjunction with such a response. The description was not inflammatory in any way, it was just factual, and was then once again followed by a statement to the effect that we wanted to talk about community concern about the incident. This tended to produce an immediate response of some kind. Fairly quickly, we gave the person who answered the door a copy of the WIMBY sign and pledge.

We explain (not necessarily all of the following but this is the general idea):  “We wanted you to have a copy of the free and noncommercial WIMBY sign and pledge. WIMBY stands for Welcome in My Back Yard, and the WIMBY pledge is something that we would like you to read and consider signing in the privacy of your home. Once you have read the pledge, we would like you to consider putting up the WIMBY sign in you r window over the next year, as a personal expression of your concern for the need to speak out against the kind of thing which just happened here in our community. We are not here to collect a signature from you on the WIMBY pledge, or to collect money from you for any cause. We do not keep track of the names of the people we have visited.  We do not keep track of which households have or have not put up the WIMBY sign, although we do sometimes try to get an idea of how many WIMBY signs were put up in any one area. We do keep track of which households we have been able to speak with in order to ensure we don’t visit them a second time.  Most importantly, we make no effort to reach every household in a neighborhood. Thus, if one of your neighbors isn’t displaying the sign, or if you choose not to display the sign, for all anyone knows you just weren’t home when the WIMBY canvassing was done.”

Provisos: The WIMBY material It has never been used in response a workplace incident. It is not likely that the WIMBY campaign would work well in a workplace. One of the ways in which the WIMBY campaign works would not be applicable, in the sense that the workplace already provides for adequate opportunities for verbal exchanges and dialogue. Also, in the workplace there would be more of a sense that persons who did not display the WIMBY sign on, say, their cubicle, were somehow deemed unsympathetic to the incident in question. That would hinder, rather than advance, humanistic dialogue. If someone wanted to post the WIMBY sign on their cubicle in a workplace where there had not been a bias incident and their was no current controversy, that would be harmless.

Other individual use: In Ann Arbor, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, the 40 year old peace group there, mailed the WIMBY sign out to a couple of thousand people at one point in the late 1990s. This lead to various people putting the WIMBY sign in their windows on an individual basis. There is nothing wrong with distributing the WIMBY sign in this manner. It can, in fact, be one way to raise consciousness about the principles of the WIMBY Pledge. However, this is not why the WIMBY campaign was launched.

The WIMBY campaign is merely one of many possible responses to such an incident, and should not replace other appropriate responses. Nor should it be combined with other responses, in the sense that the copyrighted WIMBY material and Welcome in My BackYard, Inc. do not endorse or support any other organizations or activities. For more information about emerging uses of the WIMBY campaign (for instance, mailings to randomly selected households along with a cover letter), please email wimby@wimby.org and Michael Dover or Larry Fox will get back to you.

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