Canton Mayor Bill Grant plastered the city with lawn signs carrying inspirational messages to salute healthcare workers and first responders battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Grant launched the project Tuesday through his marketing firm Grant Design Collaborative. He is one of at least four openly LGBTQ mayors in Georgia
“Our clients have gone into hibernation and we’re sitting here twiddling our thumbs, so we decided to take this nervous energy and turn it into positive energy,” he told Project Q Atlanta.
The colorful signs carry messages like “Hope. Heal. Together,” “Strong. Capable. Essential,” and “Courage. Trust. Peace.”
“We wanted them to be kind of a simple quick read that people could read driving by, and we wanted them to have different meanings to different people whether you’re a citizen or 911 responder or healthcare worker,” Grant said.
“We did them here at City Hall and the police stations and Northside Hospital Cherokee. We lined the whole drive there so staff and patients can see them,” he added.
Most of Grant’s employees live in Marietta, so they’ve spread the project there as well.
“They’re doing historic Marietta between the square and [Wellstar] Kennestone Hospital for their employees,” he said.
Grant will drop off signs this week to a graphic designer who will post them around Emory and DeKalb Medical Center. He’s had requests from people across the U.S., so his firm plans to post the templates for the signs on its website and social media.
“The first goal was to get the designs printed,” Grant said. “Then the goal is to have the files on our website and Facebook so people can download them and put them up wherever in their stores or shops or homes.”
Grant issued a shelter-in-place order in Canton in March.
“We were the first city in Cherokee County to do that,” he said. “We felt we needed to lead, so we’ve been encouraging social distancing for quite a while.”
He’s also overhauled city operations to adjust to the spread of coronavirus.
“Our City Hall is open but it’s a skeleton crew. Our police department is working out of their cars because they’re fully equipped with computers in there,” he said. “We’ve extended the deadline for renewing business licenses. We’re just trying to be flexible with our citizens.”
“It’s just been hard. It’s been hard for everybody,” he added.
Other LGBTQ officials in metro Atlanta have launched initiatives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Atlanta City Councilmember Antonio Brown on Tuesday started a free meal program to feed senior citizens and the homeless.