I was disappointed with an article published in Between The Lines/PrideSource.com, “Diversity Summit raises more questions than answers” (March 27, 2008). The article inaccurately and incompletely quoted me in reference to the program. I explained to Mr. Heywood that the purpose of the program was a follow-up to the Proposition 2 campaign and an introduction to the Michigan Roundtable plan to address diversity and inclusion statewide. This was not a case of “excluding” groups as much as it was a focused attempt to analyze one aspect of the complex issue of social diversity and strategies for the future.
As an introduction to our organization, we wanted to discuss how the Michigan Roundtable has been successful addressing diversity and inclusion in settings like schools, communities and workplaces. While there weren’t any specific groups referenced in our breakout sessions, the group discussion at the end of the program included discussion about ways we can work with, and in, the LGBT community. For example, one student spoke of holding a day of silence in deference to LGBT students and the executive director of Affirmations spoke about the issue of race within the LGBT community.
While there may have been some misunderstanding in the panel discussion regarding hate crimes legislation, the Michigan Roundtable has been opposed to hate crimes against all people in our community. We have communicated this position through our police-community relations programs, our youth programs and our interfaith programs.
Issues of LGBT inclusion have always been important to me. Even before coming to the Michigan Roundtable I championed a number of these issues at Compuware. Likewise, Michigan Roundtable programming reinforces this. We are quite affirming in our respect and dedication to the LGBT community.
As I get to know the issues and community leaders in Southeast Michigan first-hand, I assure you that the LGBT community will remain an important constituency for the Michigan Roundtable.
President & CEO
Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion}