Building grassroots power bolsters successful effort to secure Flint nondiscrimination protections

Canvassing for a citywide nondiscrimination ordinance in Flint, Mich., during the 2011 Power Summit.

Building grassroots power helps make all the difference! Just look to Flint, Mich., which passed an ordinance that includes crucial protections for LGBT people in housing and public accommodations. The ordinance is the culmination of a nearly two-year effort by a coalition of LGBT residents and allies.

In fact, the Task Force held a Power Summit leadership training in Flint last fall that included participants going door-to-door to educate residents about the nondiscrimination ordinance.

Jon Hoadley, director of the Unity Michigan Coalition, applauded the measure’s passage:

This victory belongs to the tireless advocates in Flint who have worked to educate fair-minded Michiganders on the realities of discrimination.

Local leader and organizer Nayyirah Shariff noted, in part:

Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally kicked out of their home on to the streets just because of who they are.

Stevi Atkins, CEO of Wellness AIDS Services, which hosts Safe Space, a community center for LGBT people, said they were now “one step closer to stabilizing housing” for many of their clients.

Flint is one of 18 cities in Michigan, and more than 100 across the country, that have successfully implemented similar ordinances. According to the Unity Michigan Coalition, 65 percent of Michiganders support making Michigan an equal opportunity state.

A copy of the ordinance can be found on the City of Flint’s website.