At ValpoLife.com, we are happy to team up with the Advisory Human Relations Council (AHRC) to help the Valparaiso community come together to affirm the statement they created.
The initiative has already received the affirmation from the City of Valparaiso, Valparaiso University, Ivy Tech Community College, Porter Health System, Opportunity Enterprises, GracePoint, Valpo Velvet, the Porter County Career and Technical Center, Housing Opportunities, the Alzheimer's Association, and Pines Village Retirement Communities, Inc., and we encourage you and your company to do the same. This is an opportunity for anyone that would like to “digitally” affirm the principles contained within the AHRC initiative.
Together, we will all communicate the good message about diversity in Valparaiso. The “Statement of Support for Diversity in Your Community” petition affirms Valparaiso as a community conscious of supporting diversity in our lives, businesses and organizations.
The AHRC created a petition on Change.org that spells out that the City of Valparaiso and the Advisory Human Relations Council, comprised of Professor of Law at Valparaiso University Ivan Bodensteiner, Ivy Tech Community College Dean Rick Soria, City Administrator for the City of Valparaiso Bill Oeding, Computer Services Inc. Vice President Larry Moore, Assistant to the Superintendent of Valparaiso Community Schools Jim Doane, President of Hixon Home Improvements Bill Lewis, Executive Director of HealthLinc Beth Wrobel, Director of Admissions at Valparaiso University Law School Zahra Nwabara, Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church Jacob Williams, Valparaiso City Councilperson Deb Butterfield and Valparaiso High School students Magdalena Bonilla and Yamen Atassi, that Valparaiso is welcoming to all people from all races and backgrounds.
The petition states:
The City of Valparaiso is a fine place to live for most of its residents, for most of the time. The community has much to offer, but like most cities, it is always striving to do better. In June 2011, the Valparaiso Common Council passed an Ordinance providing that it is the "public policy of the City of Valparaiso to provide all of its citizens with equal opportunity to achieve their goals and ambitions and in so doing remove barriers to equal opportunity created by both intentional and unintentional actions based upon stereotypes rather than individual merit." This Ordinance established an Advisory Human Relations Council to provide counsel and assistance to the Mayor "on matters related to discrimination, including harassment, based on characteristics such as race, color, national origin, gender, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status."
The Ordinance reflects the belief that diversity benefits the community and should be celebrated. However, the inappropriate words and actions of a few people in our community cause some of our residents and visitors to feel that they are not welcome.
We sign this statement because we believe no one should be made to feel unwelcome in Valparaiso because of the characteristics identified in the Ordinance. It takes only a few people, through their actions and words, to make others feel unwelcome and cause fear and isolation. We want to express our belief that those few do not represent the sentiment of the majority of the residents, businesses, schools and civic organizations in the community.
In short, we welcome all people to Valparaiso because we believe your presence enhances the community. We urge all sectors of our community to make a concerted effort to make all citizens and visitors feel welcome and valued in the City.
Here is a link to the original Statement of Support for a Diverse City, signed by the members of the Valparaiso Human Relations Council.
We encourage everyone who lives, works, or visits Valparaiso to personally sign this statement of support. Any companies or organizations interested in affirming their support for the statement as well are welcome to contact Ideas in Motion Media at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a copy of your logo and information for the contact person at your organization, and the Valparaiso Human Relations Council will be happy to add your organization to the statement at no cost.
Please sign the Statement of Support for Diversity in Our Community and help make all citizens and visitors feel welcome and valued in the City of Valparaiso.
Recent Signatures and Comments
"About 3 weeks ago I was harrassed by three girls in cars who cursed at me and threw something at me and my Chinese Classmate. I hope that they get caught and this does not happened to anyone else."
-- Zanele Kutamo
"Love this great town!"
-- Ben Lamb
"Valparaiso is a city that has a little bit of everything for everyone. What a great city!"
-- Kevin Loses
"Been here 12 years! Love this city and it's people!"
-- Alicia Baker
"regardless of our race or cultural back ground. regardless of our ability to walk upon our own two feet or speak our words clearly. we are all human beings set on this earth to live together. no one should be treated differently than another. I have a sister with a sever disability and i am glad she can now live in a community where she is not looked down upon because of her inability to function like those around her. And this is because of an organization and community who committed to this being possible."
-- patricia hall
"I believe in this statement and try my best to honor the meaning of this statement in the way I conduct my life everyday."
-- Jon Groth
"Equality matters for everyone. I'm glad to live in Valparaiso, and I welcome everyone who lives in our community. Together we create a stronger and healthier place to live!"
-- Sarah Degner Riveros
"I want to do my part toward actualizing a welcoming inclusive community"
-- Janet French
"We all need to love one another!"
-- Marti Masterson
"Everyone has the right to equal opportunities. We should celebrate and learn from our differences."
-- Rhonda Zatezalo
Share the affirmation on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ with #ValpoSupportsDiversity to help spread the word!