BY CHAR DAVENPORT
In response to petitioners blocking the non-discrimination ordinance in the city of Jackson on March 3, transgender advocate and special lecturer at Oakland University, Char Davenport delivers a message to the community.
On the path to freedom, no one ever gets very far by walking alone.
While the LGBTQ community and allies in Jackson were celebrating their big win with the passing of a local non-discrimination ordinance, the opposition (led by three local Catholic Churches) already had a counter-offensive in mind. Now, the city of Jackson and its city council are held hostage by the signatures of a mere 342 voters who oppose the ordinance.
Those opposed to the NDO did their homework, formed coalitions, rolled up their sleeves, and got down to business before the members of the Jackson City Council ever cast a single vote.
Not only has the opposition shown us how staunchly they oppose equality for the LGBTQ community in Jackson and throughout Michigan, but they have shown us how well organized they are and why it is so important to build coalitions across boundaries before there is a crisis.
Common ground is the essence of any coalition, and the strength of a coalition depends almost entirely on its diversity. A coalition is only as effective as the degree to which each member is committed to the success of the other members.
Democracy is for grownups and this is how it works. If we say we belong here, let’s act like it.
This is not an admonishment. The fact is, the LGBTQ community and allies in Jackson must now find it in themselves to work even harder and longer to achieve what they set out to do.
I encourage the statewide LGBTQ community to see that the fight for civil rights in Jackson is our fight, too.