● By Steven Hoffman
Kennett Square prides itself on its diversity. It has long been a community that cherishes and celebrates cultural inclusiveness. That has been very clear this month, at a time when many Americans across the U.S. are concerned that intolerance and crimes of hate are on the rise.
A new group, Indivisible KSQ, has brought together concerned citizens in the Kennett Square area who are going to work to open more doors and to help more people in the community. One of the immediate goals is to strengthen the connections with the Hispanic community, where a wave of fear has set in as a result of aggressive efforts by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to canvas the Hispanic neighborhoods throughout the Kennett Square area. But that's a starting point for the group, not a destination.
There is no single class of people and no single issue that motivates Indivisible KSQ—the group will mobilize its members to address any number of issues, and to take on any number of challenges that arise.
At the same time that the new group was forming, Kennett Square officials were considering an ordinance that formally prohibits discrimination and creates a local Human Relations Commission.
Residents in the Kennett Square area turned out in force at the March 6 meeting to show their support for the ordinance, and to hear Kennett Square Borough Council discuss it. Ultimately, borough council unanimously adopted the ordinance, which states, in part: “It is necessary that appropriate legislation be enacted to ensure that all individuals, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, natural origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, marital status, age, mental or physical disability, use of guide or support animals and/or mechanical aids, are afforded equal opportunities for employment, housing, ownership or lease of commercial property, and the use of public accommodations.”
Kudos to the Kennett Square Borough Council for adopting an ordinance that reflects the community's commitment to diversity and equality. Kennett Square joins more than a dozen other municipalities in the region that have such an ordinance on the books.
Having people mobilize to insist on fairness and equality and tolerance can only help a community. The only people who should be made to feel like they don't belong are those people who espouse hate and practice intolerance.
If it turns out that Kennett Square's Human Relations Commission is rarely pressed into duty, then that's good thing. It will show that the efforts of Indivisible KSQ and the many other organizations that are there to provide support for people in need are working.
Kennett Square Borough Council member Doug Doerfler called on all local residents to build relationships and work together to ensure that discrimination doesn't take place because it will be the people who bring about positive change.
It won't be an official policy printed on paper that makes the difference for people who live and work in Kennett Square. Ultimately, it will be the people.
And in Kennett Square, the people are mobilized.