Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

September 4, 2013

Is diversity a strength or a threat?

INDIANAPOLIS -- In a recent column I wrote when visiting Washington, D.C., as the city was preparing to host the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, I asked the question: “Will we see diversity as a threat to our seemingly secure world? Or embrace it as a strength?”

I posed the question in reference to Indiana’s changing demographics. As recent U.S. Census Bureau numbers show, we’re trending toward greater racial and ethnic diversity, which will likely only accelerate in the years to come as the most racially and ethnically diverse age group — Hoosiers under 5 —grows up.

Expect the same question to be posed to Hoosiers in coming months by the growing coalition of opponents to House Joint Resolution 6, the proposed constitutional amendment that would put the state’s current ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution and expand it to cover same-sex civil unions.

The coalition, called Freedom Indiana, is rapidly expanding its presence out of the state’s capitol city and into communities around Indiana by building the kind of grassroots campaign that can knock traditional political power off its pedestal. (Think of the grassroots campaign of political novice Glenda Ritz, who with little money or name recognition, took down her well-funded, incumbent opponent in last year’s race for Superintendent of Public Instruction.)

Freedom Indiana is asking supporters to reach out to friends, neighbors and family members (and their Facebook friends, Twitter followers and other social media connections) and do something simple: Start a conversation about why HJR-6 doesn’t jibe with the Hoosier Hospitality sentiment we claim to embrace.

The task for Freedom Indiana is to change the hearts and minds of the 50 percent of Hoosiers voters, who according to an April poll by Howey Politics Indiana, support the constitutional amendment. In changing those hearts and minds, Freedom Indiana hopes to pressure legislators who supported the proposed amendment when it came up last year to change their vote when the issue comes up again next year.

To stop the proposed amendment from going on the 2014 ballot, Freedom Indiana needs to stop the legislature from voting for HJR-6 a second time.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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Commentary
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  • Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week. Of 50,000 public school teachers graded by their principals, less than one-half of 1 percent were deemed “ineffective.”

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  • Spring into warm-weather activities safely Of course. Mother Nature finally supplies a day of sunshine and warmth inspiring kiddos to run outside; moments later a bike wreck brings the fun to a screeching halt. Fortunately, a bandage and a kiss remedy the skinned knee. The incident also offers this mom an important reminder. After a winter fighting bitter cold and piles of snow we are all anxious to finally get outside. In the rush to enjoy days of sunshine, pausing to recap a few safety rules ensures the days go smoothly.

    April 16, 2014

  • Add 'ups' to your spring to prevent Injury Welcome back spring! We all missed you so much and can’t wait to be outside soaking up every wonderful thing you have to offer. Our bodies are ready for the activity, fresh air, and a healthy level of UV rays. I can’t wait to mulch, bike, plant, 5k, swing, dig ... well, maybe not mulch. As you fly recklessly into your spring favorites and to-do lists, use these tips to care for your body to maximize your efforts and keep you safe.

    April 16, 2014

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    April 16, 2014

  • Anything goes at Beef & Boards Eighty years ago native Hoosier Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for “Anything Goes.” Six days ago it opened at Beef & Boards dinner theater. The show, which is a fun, music-filled voyage aboard the SS American, proves yet again that there is more than corn in Indiana.

    April 9, 2014

  • House Ethics Committee faces first major probe since 1997 Steering lawmakers through a rewrite of the state’s criminal code won House Judiciary Chairman Greg Steuerwald bipartisan accolades this year.

    April 9, 2014

  • Frontier Airlines fouls, strikes out I've been fortunate to have traveled frequently — mostly in a past life, prior to returning to the newspaper business. I knew things had changed, but I'd flown since 9-11 and thought I was pretty much up to speed on policies when I traveled to Washington state at the end of March.

    April 9, 2014

  • To save or not to save ash trees? Since arriving in the United States around 15 years ago, the Emerald Ash Borer has proven to be a devastating pest of green and white ash. To date, it has killed millions of ash trees and, if left untreated, appears to result in 100 percent mortality of infested trees.

    April 9, 2014

  • Eating as if life depends on it Back in the spring of 2008, I was fortunate to have heard two nationally respected authors speak in Indy.

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