The city of Saline's commitment to equality and inclusion
The city of Saline continues its efforts to help create a “just and inclusive community.”
On Oct. 26, the city of Saline issued a statement on its effort to strengthen its commitment to equality and inclusion with new Human Rights Committee and an updated Nondiscrimination Ordinance.
The city’s announcement said it is “proud to announce significant advancements in its ongoing efforts to create a just and inclusive community. The Saline City Council has recently passed a revised nondiscrimination ordinance, reinforcing the city's dedication to ensuring that every resident is treated with respect, dignity and fairness, irrespective of their background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability or identity.”
In the announcement, Saline City Manager Colleen O'Toole emphasized the importance of instituting these expanded protections.
"We cannot be our best selves, as individuals or collectively as a community, until we wholly accept and welcome each other as we are,” O’Toole said. “This ordinance aims to enshrine the City of Saline’s commitment to that effort.”
The city said a working group was formed consisting of city staff, members of the DEI Committee and City Council, at the recommendation of the DEI Committee, to review the existing ordinance.
City Councilman Dean Girbach, a member of the working group, noted in the announcement, “Saline strives to be a welcoming community, our NDO is Council’s desire to provide a pathway to those who may struggle with acceptance or experience discrimination within our community.”
In giving background and details, the city’s announcement said:
“A Nondiscrimination Ordinance (NDO) is a local law enacted by a city or municipality to ensure that all individuals, regardless of their status, are treated fairly and equally in various aspects of public life, such as employment, housing and public services. It provides legal protection against discrimination and prejudice, making it illegal to discriminate against anyone based on the defined protected characteristics. NDOs play a crucial role in safeguarding citizens' rights, fostering inclusivity, and promoting a more just and equitable society where everyone can participate fully without fear of discrimination or bias. It reinforces the city's unwavering commitment to promoting equality and safeguarding the rights of our community members.”
“The City of Saline first adopted its NDO in 2018 and completed revisions to broaden the scope of protected groups and strengthen protections for those who have a claimed failed against them in September 2023. The working group also looked at similar ordinances in nearby communities, including the City of Chelsea, to ensure alignment with best practice standards.”
“These newest revisions also established a Human Rights Commission. The Commission will be comprised of two current City Council members, two current DEI Committee members and a member of City staff. Together they will play a crucial role in ensuring the effective implementation of the nondiscrimination ordinance. Their mission includes addressing discrimination concerns, and making recommendations to the City Council on any complaints that are received.”
“The committee will serve as a vital resource for ensuring fair and equitable consideration of violations of the city ordinance, working to bridge gaps and promote dialogue that fosters understanding and unity.”
For anyone interested in learning more about the nondiscrimination ordinance or the Human Rights Commission, contact City Manager O'Toole's office at (734) 429-4907 ext. 2211.