Marking the 12th year that Chelsea has celebrated the birthday of MLK, Jr. Day, Joanne Ladio of One World One Family presented the signed and framed Proclamation of Equality to Mayor Jason Lindauer and the Chelsea City Council.
The group hopes that the city will display the document publicly for the community to see.
In February 2012, the mayor, police chief, superintendent of schools, the Washtenaw County Sheriff, the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce, the director of the Chelsea District Library, the Director of Community Health Improvement for the Chelsea Community Hospital, the Washtenaw County Commissioner, the board of education and a representative from the US Department of Justice signed a proclamation that in part states Chelsea area communities “recognize equality of all individuals and thus strive to ensure equality of opportunity for all.”
The document also states the the Chelsea Area Communities “do not tolerate prejudicial or discriminatory treatment of any person, whether a resident or a visitor in our communities.”
In addition, it states “the Chelsea Area Communities will continue to proactively uphold an environment of respect, dignity and mutual understanding among diverse groups and individuals, via education, dialogue and community activities.”
Following the presentation, Ladio spoke at length about the issues in the proclamation and urged the City Council to open the door and welcome a more diverse population into Chelsea.
Below are a few of the ideas from One World One Family.
Ladio said it was to the city’s advantage to do so for a number of reasons including “Cross-cultural competency is becoming an essential life skill,” and she said, it’s something that’s lacking for area children.
“Lack of diversity is a disservice to our existing citizens,” Ladio said, adding, “We are losing the knowledge and skills that a diverse population brings to the table.”
She suggested to the city that it start “an official organization to promote diversity — a Diversity Council. “It should be official, not a marginal protest group,” and be comprised of leaders from all of our organizations, who can create events, serve as watchdogs, develop ideas for the community” and then let other people know it exists.
She also suggested that the city runs its “beautiful Chelsea” ads in publications that are aimed at diverse populations and that the city make sure its “top leaders and realtors receive sensitivity and tolerance training so out best foot is forward.”
“On this MLK Day 2014, let’s commit Chelsea to join the global community and become a truly exciting, diverse town,” she concluded.