By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
SOUTHFIED – On Feb. 15, LGBT community leaders will join civil rights activists in a town hall meeting about the importance of affirmative action.
Titled, “The Promise of Equality: Affirmative Action Delivers” the discussion will focus on the relevance of affirmative action to the LGBT community.
Michigan’s affirmative action programs are threatened by a ballot proposal sponsored by the self-named Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, an organization founded by California anti-affirmative rights crusader Ward Connerly.
“The GLBT community needs to be out in front early against this ballot measure,” said Sean Kosofsky, policy director for the Triangle Foundation. “Discrimination against anyone is wrong, and our GLBT women and people of color are under attack this year. We should all stand up for them.”
Kimya Ayodele, MSW, CSW, ACSW, a founding member of Karibu House and Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center’s community outreach and older adult services coordinator, will moderate the panel.
Panelists will include Reginald M. Turner Jr., president of the National Bar Association and part of the legal team that supported the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program; community leader and president of Wayne State Board of Governors Jackie Washington; the ACLU of Michigan’s Field Organizer in opposition to the anti-affirmative action ballot proposal Khaled Beydoun, and George Westerman, a member of Affirmations board of directors.
The forum is the first activity planned by the LGBT Affirmative Action Coalition, a newly formed group that has come together to defend Michigan against the affirmative action proposal. Affirmations, ACLU Michigan’s LGBT Project, the American Friends Service Committee’s Faith Action Network, Between The Lines, Michigan Equality, and the Triangle Foundation are the first organizational members of the group.
“The Promise of Equality: Affirmative Action Delivers” will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Rd. Groups interested in having a town hall similar to this town hall meeting are encouraged to contact Kate Runyon at [email protected] or call the AFSC-LGBT Issues Program office at 734-761-8283, ext. 4.