Supporters of Kalamazoo Non-Discrimination Ordinance Form “One Kalamazoo”
August 10, 2009
One Kalamazoo is comprised of eighteen steering committee members and enjoys additional support by a diverse coalition of community leaders, local organizations and businesses. The effort will be led by Jon Hoadley who has extensive experience in Michigan and most recently headed the National Stonewall Democrats. “Just last Wednesday, more than 5,700 signatures in support of the inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance were unveiled on the steps of City Hall in Kalamazoo,” said Dr. Charles Warfield, president of the NAACP, Kalamazoo chapter. “Kalamazoo sent a message. Discrimination is wrong.” The inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance was passed by the City Commission on June 29 after five public forums were held to hear comments about the ordinance. The final ordinance, which simply adjusts current employment and housing/accommodations law to protect gay and transgender people as it currently protects people based on race, gender, and religion, includes revisions proposed during the public forums. After three years, hundreds of hours of meetings, five public forums and two unanimous votes by the city commission have brought us to here; A place where we now need to fight hard for yet another win--at the ballot box in November. As we spoke with fellow citizens from all segments of the community, one thing became apparent. We found that Kalamazoo was anxious for a simple vision of unity. Coalitions began to grow almost effortlessly. Soon we had a Faith coalition of some 20-30 ministers bursting with ideas about how to bring the community together. The NAACP, the YWCA, the Chairman of the County Commission, Executive Directors of prominent community foundations, the League of Women Voters. It was astonishing. They welcome us as full partners in the society of our fellows--As an equal and incalculably valuable part of a greater whole. One Kalamazoo.
May 20, 2013