Lisa Burke has a challenge for her fellow Kelowna business owners that she believes will make this community a bit better and brighter.
“We are putting a rainbow sticker on our doors to symbolize that we are a safe space,” said Burke, the owner of Burke Hair Lounge on Lawrence Avenue.
Burke said she’d like to extend that sense of safety to the entire community and she’s printed a whole stack of rainbow stickers and challenges local businesses to go get one for their own doors.
“There will be no prejudice, no discrimination, and no hate here in our salon…I built this salon for a reason and that reason is love,” she said. “This salon makes me feel safe to be myself, the other stylists to be their own quirky selves, and our clients to feel safe to be who they are.”
Burke said she realizes that the feeling of safety she values isn’t extended to all.
Two Saturday’s ago she was in her salon when she witnessed an exchange between two men who were walking by and a third party. She knew something had happened, but wasn’t sure what until a couple hours later when the men came back.
“Without going into too much detail, nobody should feel like they can’t walk in downtown Kelowna holding hands without being verbally or even physically assaulted,” she said. “Luckily they treated the situation with love, but if they hadn’t who knows what could have happened.”
That’s when she realized she wanted to be part of an effort to counter the negativity in the world.
“I decided I’m going to copy Portland,” she said. “Businesses there have stickers for everything … anxiety free and breast feeding safe spaces and the rainbow sticker campaign.”
At neighbouring business Rayacom Printers she ordered a load of rainbow stickers and started distributing stickers to anyone who expressed interest. Thus far there have been five businesses to follow her lead and she expects more to follow with an increasing number of messages of interest being left at her business.
“I think it’s about spreading love and awareness and education,” she said. “If we can work together we can make a difference.”