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Hate CrimesMichigan led the nation in 2007 with a 133 percent increase in reported anti-gay hate crimes over the previous year. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report examined data from 2,430 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people across the country who reported being victims of hate crimes. Nationally, there was a 24 percent increase in reported anti-gay hate crimes. There were 226 reported incidents in Michigan during 2007 involving violence or violent threats against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people, according to the report, which was released by Triangle in conjunction with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. By comparison, the foundation said, there were 97 reported incidents in 2006. The spike in hate crimes against gay people in Michigan is more than a series of assaults on individuals, advocates say. It's an attack on an entire group. "What's important is not numbers, because one is enough," said Derek Smiertka, director of Michigan Equality, a group working to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. "When you attack somebody for who they are and what they are and what they are perceived to be, you are attacking an entire community, not just an individual." Among the 226 reports last year were two homicides, 21 cases of vandalism, 46 assaults and 101 incidents of intimidation or harassment, the report said. In addition to the violent incidents, the foundation reported 72 cases of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Pope said part of the increase can be attributed to campaigns against domestic partner benefits, as well as a 2007 Michigan Court of Appeals decision denying those benefits to same-sex couples and their families. "When you tell the entire state that it's OK to deny something as basic as health care, it sends a pretty specific message and it institutionalizes discrimination," Pope said.
What We Believe In
America is a melting pot, founded because people sought a place where they could live their lives as who they truly are. More than just a Pride event, we celebrate the basic principles this country is founded on - freedom for each person to be true to their own Self, and acceptance of ALL people. America is called the melting pot because there are people from everywhere around the world - they have different cultures, different customs, different beliefs, different orientations and lifestyles - but when they come to America they are as one, forming a nation of uniqueness and diversity. E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One) remains the national motto. America houses many different cultures, nationalities, ideas and religions. There are Christians, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, Spiritualists, Jehovah�s Witnesses, Islamics, plus many more. America is unique in that all these religions are represented in a nation that is only 200 years old. America has upheld, throughout history, that the freedom and equality of religion is extremely important in order for this nation to function as a free nation. The foundations of America were set as a result of England�s persecution; more specifically, England�s religious persecution. The colonists wanted to create a nation that allowed people to be free. They desired to speak what they wanted to speak, do what they wanted to do, and practice what they wanted to practice without the government watching their every move. What a wonderful place, where people have come for hundreds of years for a chance at a better life. Sure, it's not always easy - but if you work hard, and keep your eye on the prize you can accomplish anything you desire. A young boy growing up in a Log Cabin, or the son of a wealthy powerful man, or the son growing up without a father.....all became President. Is there any other place like it on earth? Some countries have Kings........not much chance there. Some have royal families.........that's not going to help you either. Some have dictators ... you really can't care much for that one either (but you better smile while you think that). Only in America does the most powerful man in the country step down if the citizens choose to replace him. America is a melting pot, a mixture of people from all over the world. They all have one common goal - the desire for a better life - a mixture far greater than the sum of all its parts. America is a state of mind, a belief in a better life - a land of Equality and Acceptance, a land of Brotherly Love.