The commissioners in Lower Merion Township, a part of Montgomery County have begun a process to look at adding non-0discrimination protections, similar to what already exists in a number of other cities, and counties across the state.
It was a cautious step, to be sure. In a two-hour discussion July 7, the board of commissionersâ€™ Administrative and Human Resources Committee carefully considered wording before settling on a motion it could recommend for formal action.
When the 13 commissioners present voted unanimously in favor, though, the more than 50 residents who had turned out to support the initiative applauded.
Across Pennsylvania, residents and advocates of fair work-place rules that value all employees have been making efforts towards these types of local protections since the State has been unable to act and pass PA HB 300. Opponents to these types of legislation can point to no hard facts where adding such discrimination has ever caused any problems, yet their tactics are to try and introduce scare tactics and crazy ideas.
From my perspective, the best take-hoime message from this is here:
It was a Bala Cynwyd resident, 20-year-old Jason Landau Goodman, who approached Taylor and committee Chairman George Manos almost a year ago, to petition Lower Merion to consider a non-discrimination ordinance.
Over the past months, Goodman, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, met with commissioners, business leaders, civic associations and other organizations in the township to explain how such an ordinance would work and to build community support.
One, young resident stepped forward, and took an action. First contacting the commissioners, and then business leaders, civic associations and other organizations. The only requirement you must meet to be able to meet to make change happen, is a willingness to get involved, open your mouth, and take positive action.
The primary thing that stops movement on protections like this is a lack of knowledge, or ignorance. By giving voice to the realities of the benefits of non-discrimination to the community at large, fair-minded people overwhelmingly support non-discrimination.
Pennsylvania won’t become a better place to be and raise your family until it also becomes a state where every worker is valued because of the job they can do. Pennsylvania will not develop strong communities of Â real neighbors, until everyone knows that they are free to be themselves and can’t be refused housing, simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. We must continue to work to get the state to adopt these types of measures state-wide, but until we see that, we must also continue to make inroads in townships, cities and counties across the state. One area at a time.
If a 20 year old student was able to get this started in Lower Merion Township, tell me what might you be able to do in your area?