A Coalition of the Faithful in Michigan’s 10th Congressional District
May 9, 2014 by Lynne Bowman, Regional Field Director
Post submitted by Allison VanKuiken, Michigan Field Organizer
Over the past several months, HRC staff and volunteers in Michigan’s 10th Congressional District have been working with dozens of clergy across Michigan’s ‘Thumb Region’ to educate and build support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). With an ever growing array of denominations represented amongst this coalition of the faithful, the group hopes to show how their values and beliefs translates into how everyone. This includes gay and transgender people that should have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families without the fear of discrimination hanging over their heads.
For Reverend Henry Brinker in New Baltimore it was never an issue when asked on the matter. “I support the passage of ENDA wholeheartedly. It is my belief that Christ would want us to take a stand on the side of justice. The fact that discrimination happens and leads to economic injustices everyday is troubling but is something we can make progress on,” said Rev. Brinker.
In Port Huron, Reverend Lydia Agnew Speller has not only spoken up on the issue, but she has also helped local LGBT advocates and the HRC find a home at her church to educate area folks on equality for all people. Like Rev. Brinker, it was never really an issue for Rev. Agnew Speller as to whether or not it was the right thing to do, but rather a question of how she could help.
As the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign continues its work, ground organizers in Michigan hope to identify dozens of more clergy across the district. These clergy members will help send a clear message that people of all backgrounds and all faiths believe in the basic principles of fairness and equality in the workplace.
“It has been wonderful working with clergy across the district on this issue of equality. Not only have we been finding a tremendous amount of support, but we’ve also been able to find a lot of new support who are helping us educate and grow our coalition,” said HRC Organizer Allison VanKuiken. “I believe there has been a tremendous shift in thinking among communities of faith over the past few years regarding the injustices facing the greater LGBT community and that the growing support we are seeing across the region is evidence of that.”
If you are in the Detroit Metro area or thumb of Michigan and would like to get involved with the HRC’s efforts in Michigan, you can contact Allison VanKuiken at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us every Tuesday from 6-9 at Affirmations Community Center in Ferndale for Phone Banking and Letter Writing.
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