The Allen County Commissioners were unwise when they refused (June 2) to participate in Allen County Human Relations Commission, as proposed by Mayor Berger and the city of Lima. A Human Relations Commission would hear, investigate and work to resolve complaints of discrimination and hate crimes within all of Allen County.
The commissioners should rethink their decision for several reasons.
First, the commission would be good for business. Allen County needs to attract outside businesses, and a Human Relations Commission would demonstrate that we are a welcoming community, committed to equal rights, and aware of the social issues that businesses are taking increasingly seriously of late. By contrast, County Commissioners’ rejection of the Human Relations Commission makes the county look bad.
Second, young people are leading the movement for racial equity. Allen County is losing talented young people to Columbus and other cities. Many complain that Allen County is “backward,” and the Commissioners’ decision seems to confirm that view. However, forming a Human Relations Council would demonstrate an understanding that improvements are needed and a commitment to change.
In rejecting the Human Relations Commission, Allen County Commissioner Greg Sneary implied that racial equity is a problem only for the city of Lima. That is obviously ridiculous. As our county seat, Lima, is very much part of Allen County! Lima residents work outside of Lima. Moreover, the townships and surrounding communities are all home to diverse populations by race, ethnicity, religion, ability and sexual orientation.
Protecting all the county’s residents from discrimination is simply an intrinsically important goal. A more equitable county is good for all our residents. It’s the right thing to do.
Beth Sutton-Ramspeck, Lima