Top 10 2017: Inclusion still a focus for Hudson group
Editor's note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here.
Though the citizen-proposed inclusion resolution was not approved by the common council, the group behind it, now called Hudson Inclusion Alliance, is still working for inclusion in Hudson.
"The inclusion resolution as an action was to find people who care about it and learn about it and of course it didn't work, but so much of the narrative that came from it was really helpful," said Tony Bol, one of the group's leaders.
An ordinance passed by the council in December limited the resolutions the council would consider to those required under law, effectively killing the inclusion resolution as well as a couple others that had recently been presented.
The resolution was first proposed in July by a group of citizens who were concerned with a few recent instances of discrimination in Hudson. These included the burning of a stolen LGBT flag in April as well as negative responses to the possibility of Syrian refugees settling in Hudson at the end of 2016.
The inclusion resolution stated that the city of Hudson was proud to protect the rights of all of its residents regardless of age, race, ethnicity, country of origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, ability, religious preference, income or political affiliation.
"It is about togetherness, not to push apart," said Yasha Bol.
Some Hudson citizens felt the resolution would do the opposite, or was unnecessary.
"There's no way you can mandate kindness," Catherine Lange said at a council meeting in August.
Council Member Randy Morrissette shared a similar view, saying Hudson had always been a welcoming community.
"I'm offended that some in our community feel we are not inviting to all," he said.
City attorney Catherine Munkittrick said the language of the resolution as presented posed legal concerns.
Council Member Jim Webber said the resolution may need work on the language, but the discussion should continue.
"This room is not very diverse, this council is not very diverse so we really don't appreciate perhaps the people who are discriminated against," he said.
Now that the resolution is no longer on the table, Hudson Inclusion Alliance is turning to different initiatives to continue their main goal of inclusion.
"We were always building up to be an organized group and the resolution was a tool to seek partners in so many ways," Tony Bol said. "We learned who we are by the act of the inclusion resolution concept."
The group meets regularly at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the Hudson Professional Building at 901 Fourth Street. As part of these meetings, the group has assembled a chronology of issue markers in Hudson's recent history.
"It's really systemic in that little things are what add up to a total picture. We're not Charlottesville. We don't have southern generals. We are a northern city with northern city issues of inclusion or prejudicial behaviors," Tony Bol said. "They're midwestern, they're subtle."
Beyond the meetings, the Hudson Inclusion Alliance is working to support Hudson institutions in their efforts towards diversity.
"We want to support people in that process, and they don't feel like they have to whisper like they do currently," Tony Bol said.
He said though the group does often have to take a stand, the main goal is not to be the opposition to a group.
"We really want to put our energy in positive actions, in doing good things," Tony Bol said.