Respect Identities

Dear Editor:

At its Nov. 7, 2018, meeting the DeForest village board rejected Resolution 2018-080, “A Resolution Affirming the Sense of Community within DeForest and Respecting Individual Identities.” I hope the board will take up this resolution again. It was not that board members did not approve of the resolution. It was merely the form that was unsatisfactory. Two recent occurrences have convinced me that it is time again for the DeForest village board to take up the issue of respect for individual identities.

One of the occurrences was the Juneteenth 2019 presentation by Mr. Percy Brown, Jr., at DeForest High School. If you were there, you received a powerful survey of the history of the curses of slavery and the subterfuges following the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment (ratified by Wisconsin on Feb. 24, 1865). You learned about the Naturalization Act of 1790, the three-fifths compromise, internalized oppression, the service of African-Americans in all U.S. wars, Benjamin Banneker, Pointe du Sable, and other great African Americans in U.S. history and culture.

The other occurrence that leads me to want to resurrect the DeForest resolution is the action of the Windsor village board on Nov. 18, 2019. At that meeting, after much valuable discussion among board members and citizens in attendance, the board passed unanimously a strong, modern policy statement embracing “diversity and inclusion efforts.” The board was especially interested in the additional concern arising for transgender adults and youth. You can find the 116-word statement on the Windsor website.

The village of Windsor makes a strong statement: “Windsor wants community members to see Windsor as a diverse and inclusive Village to live, work and play.” The Windsor board members put in place more than just a routine, legally correct, feel-good statement. They made a visionary social commitment: “Windsor envisions a civil world where government agencies, communities, and individuals exist cohesively while operating in a mutually beneficial manner in the Village.”

I think it is important that our elected bodies affirm that we have progressed into the new, all-inclusive age. DeForest should follow Windsor’s lead. DeForest should revive Resolution 2018-080 and mold it into a vessel behind which all members of the board can stand.

John Scepanski


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