All people are welcome in our community
By MEGAN SCHMIDT
The Holland Sentinel
Park Township, MI —
Harrison wants people to know that an ethnic slur painted on the
driveway of a Park Township family’s home earlier this week does not
reflect how most residents feel about diversity.
The petition is ashow of support not only for the family, but for the idea that racism cannot be tolerated.
The Robinson family was one of several along North Bristol Street in Park Township who awoke Monday morning, Aug. 18, to find damage to their property.
Lt. Mark Bennett of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office said the department received at least a half dozen calls from other homeowners on North Bristol Street who reported broken windows and graffiti on their property.
The sheriff’s office continues to search for the suspects, Bennett said Thursday, Aug. 21.
Bennett said detectives and deputies were talking to residents in hopes of finding information that will lead to the suspects.
Calls to the Robinson family were not returned Thursday, Aug. 21.
Harrison said that within two hours of sending out the first press releases about the petition, her inbox was full of responses. Harrison and a co-worker already had received about 65 signatures each, she said.
Harrison said she encourages leaders of businesses and the faith
community contact the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance or visit its
Web site to distribute the pledge sheets.
In addition to the petition, the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is also organizing a party at Winstrom Park, 160th Avenue and Perry Street.
An overlook at the park was damaged with graffiti and carvings a day after the racial slur was discovered.
A date has not yet been set for the party.
In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Harrison said the group will also be organizing community and school forums on hate crimes. Harrison hopes to feature victims of hate crimes in the forums.
“It’s critical for the community to understand what hate crimes are and what the consequences are,” she said.