Minn. company launches 'Refugees Welcome' campaign

A Minneapolis design and print company is working with an artist in New York to print "Refugee Welcome" stickers for businesses to display.

MINNEAPOLIS - Can one small gesture change the conversation about refugees?

The owners of Burlesque of North America, Mike Davis and Wes Winship, along with their friend Veda Partalo think so.

That wasn't enough.

"We ran through them in less than 24 hours," Davis said.

On Thursday Davis and Wes printed thousands more. But orders just keep coming from all over the world.

"We had people contacting us from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Nashville, all the way to Australia. We had people writing to us from Paris," Davis said.

Freedom of the press isn't just a saying for the trio. It's a virtue that drives their work.

"We did this because want people to feel welcome," Partalo said.

Partalo lives in New York City now but 19 years ago she arrived in Minnesota with her family as a new refugee escaping war-torn Bosnia.

"A significant reason of why both my sisters and I were able to integrate so well in American society was because of how warmly we were received," she said.

That's not the case these days. National debate on refugees and immigration is often ugly. They hope as businesses put the stickers up the message will turn.

"Fear mongering seems to be the flavor of the day and that's not who I think most people want to be or they want the country to be," Winship said.

This issue hits home for Davis, whose wife is from Laos.

"It would have helped her family when they came here to have positive encouraging message," he said.

The stickers can be purchased for $2 or you can print off a free PDF here.


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