Taking Action for a Welcoming Community
Several years ago, two female Saudi students at Ball State were verbally harassed at the Muncie Mall.
Last year, an African-American female candidate for local office was called horrible racial slurs and another received a threatening letter in the mail.
Gay couples are insulted for walking together. And just last month a community leader, who happens to be gay, was threatened at his place of work.
This is just a small local sample. This doesn't touch nationally on how many latinx children are being held in caged squalor, how many Muslims are harassed, and the reality that black people can't peacefully protest, jog, or sometimes even breathe without their life being taken.
Delaware County is a beautiful place, first and foremost, because of its rich diversity of people. Yet we have far too few conversations about being a true Welcoming Community. People usually just decide on "posting a sticker in a window" or "being nice to people." Don't get me wrong, stickers in windows provide some level of general public support and, all things being equal, it’s better to be nice than mean. But in life we all get into situations where we have to choose between being "nice" and being "good". I hope, in each instance, you will drop what you call "nice” and choose to do "good.”
Delaware County can only thrive, whether culturally, structurally, or economically, when all of its residents feel encouraged, supported, secure, comfortable, and appreciated being who they are at all times. What makes up who someone is includes many facets; what they look like, their abilities and interests, where they come from, what their life experiences are, who they pray to (or if they pray at all), who they love, and how they identify, among countless others. By welcoming each person, accepting and supporting them for the unique individual they are, we not only help them feel emboldened to reach higher, but we benefit from listening, and experiencing all they have to offer, also improving ourselves
Welcoming is not something we should sit around and wait for an opportunity to do. It is something we must embody each day in the activities, opportunities, and opinions we seek, the voices we give volume to, and the way we support all of those around us for who they are in the place they are. And when an injustice is committed to a member of our community, to welcome is to stand up for that person and fight that injustice.
I am running for Delaware County Council because I want to do everything I can to help our community thrive. One important aspect of that is my commitment to elevating the voice of the people in our county government. I will work tirelessly, using my vote and my own voice, to ensure all people feel supported, empowered, and welcome to make their voice heard in our community. Because to welcome is an action.
I hope you will take that action with me.