Celebrating the Non-Discrimination Ordinance

The pace of life can be so fast and the deluge of bad news so overwhelming that I forget to take the time to celebrate real victories.

Last week was such a win. As you probably know by now, the Manhattan City Commission approved the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance and created a structure for enforcement. That makes Manhattan the third city in Kansas with these significant protections for LGBTQ people. A year ago, such a move couldn’t have been predicted.

What made it happen?

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” The change came because a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens made it happen. Specifically, members of the Flint Hills Human Rights Project organized and strategized, lobbied and negotiated, and motivated others to show up and argue for change. I worked with area pastors to make clear to the Commission that many religious people believe that religion is no excuse for discrimination.

I’m proud that many members of UUFM showed up at one of the many meetings where the issue was discussed. Several spoke or wrote to the City Commission movingly and strongly on the issue.

At UUFM, we are a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens. It’s not only this particular issue. Last Tuesday, I went from the City Commission to a Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice-sponsored forum on the effects of Medicaid cuts. Again, thoughtful, committed members of UUFM were scattered through the audience.

It’s the same wherever I go in Manhattan. I always find UU’s engaged in the work of social justice. Sometimes, we don’t realize what a difference we are making as a group.

We care about the issues. We work to make bring change and to support existing efforts that are doing good. And sometimes, we get a real win. Like last Tuesday.

Let’s take the time to celebrate it.

In faith and freedom,

Jonalu

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