New “Welcome to Idaho” Campaign Kicked-Off
Boise, ID – There's a new kind of "Welcome Wagon" in Idaho. The "Welcoming Idaho Initiative" features advertisements, now popping up across the state, to let newcomers know that Idaho really is a friendly place. Leo Morales with the Idaho Community Action Network says human rights groups and church leaders came up with the idea to combat what they perceive as intolerance by some, of those new to the Gem State.
"We firmly believe that that's not the direction that Idaho should go. And so, the 'Welcoming Idaho' campaign again reminds us of values that we Idahoans should hold and move forward with."
Morales explains that people from other states, and other countries, have felt the negative message. Even flyers containing threats have circulated, making families afraid to let their children walk to school alone. Morales and others have been concerned about pamphlets being distributed by a white supremacist faction, and they say it's not the only group to create what Morales calls a "climate of fear" in the Gem State.
"The goals of the 'Welcoming Idaho' really are to remind us of compassion, opportunity and respect -- and those are Idaho values."
Some critics of the initiative believe it's a campaign to legalize undocumented immigrants. Sponsors of the initiative include Catholic Charities of Idaho, the Idaho Human Rights Education Center and the Idaho Peace Coalition.