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Holland to award “Holland Is Ready” its social justice award

A Holland is Ready bumpsticker.
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
A Holland is Ready bumpsticker.

Holland is Ready will get one of the city’s social justice awards later this month. The award comes six months after Holland City Council rejected proposed anti-discrimination rules. A citizen nominated the group for consideration.

The community organization formed in early 2010 after Hope College stopped an openly gay filmmaker from discussing his movie on campus. The group also pushed city leaders to protect gay and transgender people from local discrimination in housing and employment. In June Holland City Council voted 5 to 4 against the ordinance.

Al Serrano is Holland’s Human Relations Coordinator.  Serrano said the award is for the group’s ongoing efforts to educate the community about a divisive issue in a non-confrontational way. “They came and they were civil at the city council presentations about an issue sometimes that can be very, very hot in the sense that people get very emotional about it,” Serrano said.

He was disappointed that city council turned down the Human Relation Commission’s unanimous recommendation to adopt the anti-discrimination rules. “If city council doesn’t agree to change their mind and approve the recommendation, then hopefully this group will then do a ballot initiative and put it before the community and find out really if Holland is ready,” Serrano said.

In a prepared statement, Holland is Ready organizer Rev. Jen Adams told the Holland Sentinel:

“We are grateful for the city’s recognition of our efforts...This Social Justice Award is truly an honor, and we’ll continue to work for a Holland that is able to celebrate the diversity that is present among us.”

The ceremony is January 18that HollandCity Hall.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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