Using signs of positivity to counter controversial sign

Using signs of positivity to counter controversial sign
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:25 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Using positivity to counter something with a very negative message.

Members of a Toledo mental health recovery center decided they’d take a stand against a sign sitting outside their front door.

If you drive by the Thomas M. Wernert Center on Woodruff by Ashland near downtown Toledo, you’ll find lots of signs of positivity. That’s to counter what’s on a property just across the parking lot.

Signs like “You belong here” now sit next to a sign very few believe should be sitting next to the Thomas M. Wernert mental health recovery and support facility. Underneath the current sign sits a sign that when you pronounce it all together it says “suicide”.

“It makes you feel bad. It’s like somebody basically telling you to do something to harm yourself,” said Lucy Dias, a Wernert Center member.

Dias says people there felt targeted when the sign appeared this spring. Someone painted over it once but it reappeared. Now it’s covered but these positivity signs placed around the property Monday morning are now meant to permanently give it cover.

“It gives a positive message and it uplifts you when you see them and read them,” said Meon Allen, a Wernert Center member.

The signs sits on a private piece of property right in front of the Wernert Center that’s for sale. County property records list it as less than one tenth of an acre. On Zillow its sale price is just short of $200,000. The property owners has engaged the Wernert Center on selling it but no deal has been reached and now this sign.

“It’s disturbing and it worries us that somebody may take that to heart,” said Patti Robb, Wernert Center executive director.

Robb and the Wernert staff are not 100% sure who put the sign there. They’ve notified the property owner saying it’s literally connected to the “for sale” sign but the sign was never removed or replaced. Just covered. Whoever is doing it, it’s not stopping the center staff from making sure people ignore it.

“The members had a chance to use their voice and let people know how they felt without being negative, without calling names, without making another counter negative suggestions,” said Robb.

“I feel wonderful, positive, all the positively around here with the signs. It’s awesome,” said Dias.

13abc made several attempts to speak with the property owner Monday but could not reach him.

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