Holly Township Library Passes LGBTQ Inclusive Resolution

Holly Township Library Passes LGBTQ Inclusive Resolution

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 9, 2021)

Holly, MI-  Rainbow “Safe Zone” stickers now grace Holly Township Library, thanks to a resolution passed recently by the library’s governing board.

The “RESOLUTION TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT INCLUSIVE AND NOT LIMITED TO THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AT HOLLY TOWNSHIP LIBRARY,” was passed unanimously at the June 28, 2021 meeting.

President April Brandon penned the resolution, which lists reasons why those in the LGBTQ community need protection from discrimination, and what the board believes should be done.  It calls for “knowledge through education regarding LGBTQ issues strengthens compassion and cultivates acceptance of, understanding and respect for LGBTQ children and youth,” as well as sates “All citizens should be able to patron a library in a safe and inclusive environment free from discrimination.”  (Full text included below)

The stickers were designed and created by Secretary Meghan Hill.

Brandon told Oakland County Times “Like most people, I have family and friends who identify as LGBTQ. I don’t want to tokenize or ‘out’ anyone in a public paper so I am not going to mention individuals,” she said.  “I am also a counselor, and I have an international client base that is largely LGBTQ. The trials and oppressors to this community can be extreme in some places, some times. I don’t think Holly Library would have ever been a place to exact that kind of hardship on a people, but I’m not a gambler, and any unfair employment practices or harassment will not go unpunished. This community deserves the same guarantees as all others.”

She also had written, and passed, a resolution to close the Library on Martin Luther King Jr Day with the help of Trustee Aten Alrey.

“It was just this year that I also wrote a resolution in regards to closing the Holly Library for Martin Luther King Day. I was only just informed that we were not closed for Martin Luther King Day, and we were closed for every other national holiday,” she said.  “So, I wrote a long overdue resolution that was passed unanimously by the board. Similarly, when I found out that there was nothing in place at a local level to protect our LGBTQ employees and patrons, I wrote a resolution, and this one was also passed unanimously by the board.”

The resolution included information on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which bans employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex. Inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity.  On June 15, 2020 the Supreme Court decided  that LGBTQ individuals were included in the act under the protections based on “sex.”  Prior to this ruling, local communities that wanted to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation would pass local non-discrimination, or human rights, ordinances. The Library’s resolution empowers them to act within the library’s purview to disallow discrimination.  “Even when there are no policies in place to protect people federally, you can sometimes protect people locally,” Brandon said.  “From now on, the LGBTQ community will be protected at our library from discrimination in regards to employment or patronage.”

Brandon said she’s unaware of any problems at the library, but “there were discriminatory posts that were aimed at the black community and the LGBTQ community in our local Facebook group featuring pictures of educational books from Holly Library. This was near pride month, and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate pride by showing inclusiveness.”

The resolution has been posted at the library, as well as one honoring Pride month in June. There are also inclusive materials available for check out.

“The librarians do a fantastic job of scheduling events and presentations, and would certainly welcome speakers that were interested in a presentation at the library. Each month they feature different historical figures on our webpage, and for black history month, among many other prominent black historical figures, they included the courageous Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman who stood in the front line of the Stonewall Riots in the 60s. That was a great opportunity to educate with intersectionality,” Brandon said.

The resolution included below, and has also been published at the Holly Township Library website.

RESOLUTION TO CREATE AND MAINTAIN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT INCLUSIVE AND NOT LIMITED TO THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AT HOLLY TOWNSHIP LIBRARY

WHEREAS, Libraries are integral to building vibrant communities as centers of cultural celebration and a unifying destination for individual learning, personal enrichment, community engagement; and

WHEREAS, The Holly Township Library Board of Trustees is granted the authority to “Supervise and control library property” pursuant to Article I Section 5 of its Bylaws; and

WHEREAS, The Holly Township Library Board of Trustees has made a commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, belonging and freedom of information; and

WHEREAS, All citizens should be able to patron a library in a safe and inclusive environment free from discrimination, and that history has shown that civil rights laws are effective in contributing to such environments; and

WHEREAS, Explicit federal statute Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex, protections addressed discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, but only began to include sexual orientation and gender identity as of the Supreme Court long overdue interpretive ruling on June 15, 2020 to also cover LGBTQ+ workers indicates a continued under-representation and oppression of this community; and

WHEREAS, The American Psychological Association and Department of Education brings to light a lack of awareness and understanding of issues facing LGBTQ children and youth contributing to a higher rate of isolation, depression, suicide, and suicidal ideations or attempts; and

WHEREAS, Knowledge through education regarding LGBTQ issues strengthens compassion and cultivates acceptance of, understanding and respect for LGBTQ children and youth; and

WHEREAS, Harassment and bullying policies that specifically mention sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are associated with: students feeling safer; lower levels of bullying; fewer incidents of harassment related to sexual orientation; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, The Holly Township Library supports current civil rights legislation and the supreme courts 2020 interpretive ruling, Department of Education guidance, APA statistical guidance in protecting all LGBTQ community members, specifically children and youth, and ensuring their equal access to public safety; and be it further

RESOLVED, The Holly Township Library supports legislation recognizing LGBTQ as a protected group and addresses discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression; and be it further

RESOLVED, The Holly Township Library encourage state, local units, schools and councils to review policies in regard to bullying and support revisions and amendments to those policies that specifically address the topics of sexual orientation and gender identification/expression as they relate to harassment and bullying; and be it further

RESOLVED, The Holly Township Library encourages states to incorporate standards regarding age-appropriate, medically accurate and culturally sensitive information on LGBTQ issues into existing health and other appropriate curricula; and be it further

RESOLVED, The Holly Township Library supports legislation that creates a safe, supportive and accepting environment in the library, specifically protecting the rights of community members and youth that deal with the issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, henceforth.

Adopted Monday June 28, 2021

Holly Township Library Board of Trustees

Gregory Hayes ~ Director

April Brandon ~ President/Author

Joe Mishler ~ Vice President

Adam Freese ~ Treasurer

Meghan Hill ~ Secretary

A.C. Alrey ~ Trustee

Kristin Watt ~ Trustee

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