A new local progressive organization called Community Equality Resources (C.E.R.) finished second in Colon’s Fourth of July parade this weekend, a feat they say is a major step in the process of “breaking down barriers” within the village and township for “members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and by extension all diverse groups of peoples within the village.”
According to the organization’s mission statement, C.E.R. was created “for the purposes of creating visibility for our citizenry of marginalized groups while providing free resources and information for any resident seeking them. St. Joseph County lacks direct contact with many sources available to residents in larger counties. Through C.E.R., the Village (of Colon) would gain those connections through volunteers striving to bridge the gaps that have developed between various groups of people through unintentional ignorance with compassion, respect, and an open-door policy. Starting with one town, eventually branching out to the whole of St. Joseph County.”
Representatives of the group sent Watershed Voice the following statement regarding their goals and initiatives following Saturday’s parade:
The Community of Equality Resources group (C.E.R.) is a volunteer-based group of like-minded individuals with the goal to provide education and resources for the community of Colon, Michigan. Community Equality Resources has generated this group in hopes of working and living closer with the diverse groups present within the Village and Township of Colon.
We feel that proper access to educational tools and resources will open many doors to acceptance and understanding into our already close-knit community. Our hope is to heal that divide and to further a sense of community. We have come together and developed an agenda for the approval of the Colon Village Council.
“It is the goal of the group tentatively known as the C.E.R. to provide an easy-to-find resource center within the Village and Township of Colon through a working relationship with both. Included in the agenda of C.E.R. are:
•availability to resources such as mental health centers/hotlines
•availability to resources encompassing a grievance of violation of Constitutional rights
•providing high-visibility to the diverse community of Colon
•actively working within the community and participating in the various events within the village
•providing education on topics of equality and inclusivity to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and by extension to all diverse groups of peoples within the village
•communicate directly with the village council on ways to improve our community as a whole
•build a solid, trusting relationship with the community through peaceful acts of support to all diverse groups in a constructive manner.
Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.