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Burton residents push for non-discrimination ordinance

Residents attend the Burton City Council meeting. (Photo credit: Amanda Chodnicki)

Residents came together at the Burton City Council meeting Monday evening to urge officials to put a non-discrimination ordinance in place.

After the recent alleged hate crimes that happened to one African-American family in Burton, advocates said this ordinance is crucial to have in the city.

Genevieve Field, a member of the transgender community, said she has yet to experience discrimination firsthand in Burton.

But she said it doesn't mean that it's not happening to others and that's why she is speaking out, pushing council to adopt a non-discrimination ordinance.

She said it would serve as a symbol to residents.

"It would mean that the city cares about all of its residents, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and that they're willing to publicly state that and protect all of their citizens and residents," Field said.

Field said she and the rest of the equality caucus came before Burton City Council back in March.

She said they also gave the city a flag to fly back in June for Pride Month.

Councilman Steve Hatfield said everyone on the board shook their heads and said they would get to work on this, but months later he said he sees no progress.

The mayor apologized for not flying the flag.

She said it slipped her mind.

City council voted to amend the city's employment policy to have protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Field said it is a small step in the right direction.

She added that Burton isn't her last stop.

She plans to visit other sites in the county, including Grand Blanc Township.

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