Re-affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality and Justice
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Press Release: June 23, 2010

History made in the City of Warren
“Re-affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality, and Justice”

Last night was a historic night for the City of Warren. The city council unanimously passed a resolution on “Re-affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality and Justice.” A document initiated by four clergy.

Almost two years ago (June 26, 2008) and after months in the making, Imam Steve Elturk of the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), Father Gary Shulte of St. Sylvester Church, Rev. Roger Facione of Calvary Lutheran Church, and Rev. Michael Curro of the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice (ICRJ) drafted and signed the “Interfaith Covenant for Freedom, Equality and Justice” vowing to protect against prejudice and discrimination in our communities. IONA was among many victims in the city of Warren as a result of bigotry, intolerance, and injustice.

The four clergy worked diligently to promote the document among religious and community leaders. With their support and in order to promote the document in schools, businesses, city, and other institutions, the Interfaith Covenant was re-drafted to become the “Community Covenant for Freedom, Equality, and Justice” with the hope to be embraced by all.

The document finally made its way to Warren’s Mayor, Mr. James Fouts. Mr. Fouts, among other city leaders (CPC, Church-Police-City), embraced the document, with some suggestions and recommendations.
Those recommendations were adopted, resulting in a document entitled, “Re-affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality, and Justice,” to be introduced to the city council and adopted as a resolution.
After addressing the concerns of some city council members expressed in April, 2010, the council passed the resolution, “Re-affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality, and Justice,” on June 25, 2010. Indeed, this made history in a city known, nationwide, for its unfair treatment of people of other races, colors, and religious/ethnic backgrounds.

Rev. Curro, the main author of the original document, said in a statement, “It is the hope of all those involved that a “new” Warren emerge that embraces its growing diversity and celebrates this as a strength to build upon rather than a problem to escape.” He also said, “…it is also hoped that the document becomes part of the educational curriculum to be taught.” Rev. Curro is the Executive Director of ICRJ.

The clergy responsible for the document hope that it will be much more than a museum piece to be read and appreciated, becoming a “living” document that influences all. They also desire that the resolution be prominently displayed in the Warren City Center and at all public buildings within Warren. Additionally, it is hoped to introduce, teach, and promote the resolution in our houses of worship, schools, businesses, city, police, fire, and other institutions.

Commenting on this historic moment, Imam Steve Elturk of IONA said, “That’s not to say that everything is going to change overnight with the passing of the Reaffirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality, and Justice resolution. Actually, the work has just begun, and we have a lot of challenges ahead of us to make this great document a living document.”

It is only through upholding such values and principles as freedom, equality, and justice that can shape and build strong communities. We pray that this bold action shapes both the present and future for Warren as the city further develops, changes, and grows.

Below is the complete text of the resolution.

“Re-affirming the American Core Values of Freedom, Equality and Justice”

WHEREAS, as people of the diverse community of the city of Warren, Michigan, we offer this statement in support of freedom, equality and justice, and together we share a commitment to the well-being of every person in our community, and WHEREAS, the City of Warren believes, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, that all people are created equal and we champion the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We assert that ultimately all people of the world belong to ONE HUMAN RACE. And we declare that the diversity of our world is a gift to be celebrated, honored, and protected, and WHEREAS, the City of Warren believes that all deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential and that all should have equal opportunity for access to education, health care, housing, and employment. We also believe that it is not only our civic but also our moral responsibility to protect the right of all people to live, work, go to school, and worship freely within our cities without the threat of discrimination or harm as a result. And we pledge to work cooperatively in order to foster peace and build harmony, and WHEREAS, the City of Warren is united in speaking out against any expression of prejudice, intimidation, hate, or violence that is aimed at hurting or excluding an individual, a family, or a group of people because of who they are. We are committed to nonviolent solutions to human suffering and injustice, and join together to work for economic well-being and social justice for all, and WHEREAS, let it be declared that the City of Warren believes that freedom, equality, and justice are the core values of our City which need to be proclaimed, taught, and practiced in our homes, schools, and in daily lives for the health and quality of our community, and ultimately, our world.
NOW, THEREFORE, let it be resolved that the City of Warren City Council: Stands together in support of freedom, equality and justice, and to speak out against prejudice, discrimination, and violence; works together for the betterment of our entire community; promotes nonviolence, justice, and respect for all; supports all local governments, police, schools, businesses, congregations, and non-profit organizations’ efforts to protect the rights of all people; and supports the idea of community events to build bridges of understanding, relationships, and trust among people of different cultures and faith traditions.

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