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A win in K’zoo is a win for Michigan

By |2009-10-22T09:00:00-04:00October 22nd, 2009|Uncategorized|

In July, before One Kalamazoo even existed, Between The Lines reported on the passage – and then eventual rescinding – of the anti-discrimination ordinance that would protect LGBT people from harassment or bias in employment, public accommodations and housing. Back then, supporters of the ordinance were led by the Kalamazoo Alliance for Equality, and support was mostly centralized to western Michigan.
At that time, KAFE Media Coordinator Shawn Brier pointed out that most of the LGBT community was unaware of the fight that had already begun. “Honestly, The general community I think doesn’t even know this is going on,” he said to BTL in early July.
“There seems to be a general apathy in the LGBT community. Maybe they don’t see the discrimination in their own lives.
“But I guarantee you that within the next couple of months, they are going to know what’s going on.”
Brier is either a psychic, or really confident in the abilities of the team that was to become One Kalamazoo. Either way, he was right.
Since July, One Kalamazoo has established a massive presence – on Facebook and Twitter, on the doorsteps and TVs of Kalamazoo citizens and, most importantly, in the minds of LGBT Michiganders across the state.
We at BTL are proud to see the passionate grassroots activism that has taken place since this campaign began. People in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Grand Rapids, Lansing and beyond all know about what’s happening in Kalamazoo, and they all care enough to help out. These activists – not from organizations or motivated by any personal gain – heard the call coming from Kalamazoo and they answered. LGBT people across the state have and are still coming together – canvassing, making calls, donating what money they can – to make sure that hate and bigotry don’t win in that city.
And why fight for laws that don’t personally affect you?
We fight because Kalamazoo gays, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people are part of Michigan’ great, big gay family. We fight because if we don’t help them, who will come to help us when our city faces a similar battle? Lastly, we fight because One Kalamazoo doesn’t just mean the people who live there – it means anyone who supports what they’re fighting for.
We’ve suffered too many losses and heartaches over LGBT rights in Michigan. If we lose Kalamazoo, it’s just one more defeat that’s beating us down and making us lose hope. And though the fight should and will continue whether we win or lose, it will feel really great to know that we, as a community supporting our family across the state, accomplished something. And we’ll do it together.
Kalamazoo still needs our help, and we need Kalamazoo to win. Volunteer your time, give a donation or simply call their offices and say, “How can I help?”
A win in Kalamazoo on the anti-discrimination ordinance will not just be a victory for that one city. It will be something to celebrate all over the state. Let’s make sure it happens.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.