If you've been listening to Akron's leaders recently, you've probably heard the phrase "Welcoming City" quite a few times. Mayor Dan Horrigan's latest step toward that label extends the welcome to members of the LGBT community.
Horrigan and Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1) proposed a city nondiscrimination ordinance Monday. If passed by City Council, the ordinance would ban discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, familial status, sex, gender identity or expresson, sexual orientation, or military status. It would apply in the areas of housing, employment, public accomodations, and city contracts. Exceptions would be made for religious groups and the Akron Public Schools.
While state and federal law already outlaws discrimination against most of the groups covered by Akron's law, it does not include provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Violations of the ordinance would be investigated by a new Civil Rights Commission made up of 5-7 people appointed by the mayor and confirmed by Council. The commission would have the power to penalize those who violate the ordinance.
Horrigan joined The Jasen Sokol Show Monday to discuss the proposed ordinance.
"Don't be alone."
That's the message from the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland following Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 victims dead. The center is opening its doors today for those looking for supportive and healing services.
"We just wanted to ensure that the community knew that they are not alone and they don't have to process or observe their feelings in a vacuum." said Maya Simek, director of programs.
Staff will be available for counseling and the center will be open through 8 p.m. on Monday for those seeking resources and a safe place to process the events.
"Being able to talk and process about what you're feeling when you're safety is, again, called into question, I think is important for people to know they have the ability to do so in a safe space."
For those who can't make it out to today's programs, Simek says the community center will help to direct them to local services and counselors.
The Community AIDS Network Akron Pride Initiative (CANAPI)is also offering help for those in need of support services. More information can be found on www.canapi.org.