July 28th, 2011I am outraged! I have to say that after the horrific murders that occurred two weeks ago in Grand Rapids, I have yet to submit a positive GR6 six word entry that one would expect from the President of this community foundation. I've had to just let it all sink in.
Well then this morning I was reading Facebook postings from overnight. I was thoroughly disgusted to learn that an assault was committed on a man who was leaving a welcoming party for Denise Brogan-Kator the Executive Director of *Equality Michigan.
Postings by my friends Terry Johnston and Tommy Allen alerted their followers to this horrible assault. Terry wrote: "Just learned that a friend of mine was physically and verbally assaulted by 2 young men after leaving an Equality Michigan reception. He was thrown up against a wall, punched in the stomach, called "faggot", told that "he doesn't deserve to live" and "doesn't belong on the face of the earth".
Beyond heartbreaking as it is simply ruthless and WRONG! This isn't just about "how to make Grand Rapids a more welcoming city and area" it is violence - it is prejudice - it is a crime against a human being!
We have been working so very hard on the issues of racism and sexism and all the isms! This discrimination and prejudice cannot continue! The rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation need to be protected.
And what an awful way to end what I am assuming was a joyous occasion introducing the Executive Director of Equality Michigan based in Detroit to many supporters here in Grand Rapids.
The physical attack was committed a half-block away from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and I just hope we can all work together to address these egregious crimes and to continue to embrace differences. This isn't just a case of "why can't we just all get along", it's an act of violence and it has to stop. And not just the outright acts of violence but the attitudes and behavior of some in our community. I know this happens more often than what is reported to the police. My GR6 entry today would read if submitted: Future: Inclusion. Magnetic. Welcoming. Aspirational. Hope.
* From the organization's website: "Equality Michigan works to achieve full equality and respect for all people in the state of Michigan, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We're also a touch point for events, organizations, and information that are of interest to the community. We are a professional, active resource for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied community members."