Welcome to the Kiwanis Club #1 Detroit, Michigan Founded 1915
A welcome message from Indiana
Apr 03, 2015
In recent weeks we’ve heard from many of our members who objected to the law enacted by the Indiana legislature last month. The law, entitled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, introduced a divisive debate over inclusion and discrimination, and media coverage shared this debate globally.
We heard from some of our non-North American members who wondered if they would be welcome in Indianapolis during our June convention. We heard from more members who told us they would not come to a city or state that allowed open discrimination of any group. And some even advocated we should move the convention, or our headquarters, out of Indianapolis.
Kiwanis International usually avoids taking any position on political issues. We never want to jeopardize our strong reputation as an organization that stands for children, families and communities. But in this case, we believed we needed to step forward on this debate. Citing The Objects of Kiwanis adopted in 1925, and a strong position on inclusiveness adopted by our delegates in 2008, we took a leadership role on this issue in the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana.
On April 2, we had the opportunity to speak before the Indiana House of Representatives as we were recognized for our 100 year anniversary. We used this opportunity to clearly state our position on this issue of discrimination and inclusion. We were pleased to see several Kiwanis members serving in the House - Republicans and Democrats - rise to proudly proclaim their Kiwanis membership. A Kiwanian who is a senator and his club’s Eliminate Project chair introduced us in the Senate. Later that same day, both houses of the legislature passed an amendment that provided the protection against discrimination we had sought. We thank those elected Kiwanis leaders for their support.
In short, our members’ voices were heard, and Kiwanis was seen as an important influence creating a positive outcome. We appreciate the hundreds of members who have shared their opinions over the last two weeks.
To those members who had chosen to not attend the 100th convention in Indianapolis this summer, we ask you to reconsider. Please come. Your attendance will send the strongest possible message that bad public policy will not diminish the good works of Kiwanis.
We have extended the lower early registration fees through April 17.
And, we have added a town hall forum on Kiwanis, Inclusion and Our Next 100 Years to be held on Saturday, June 27. Here, we should seriously discuss and consider our own organization’s position on diversity and inclusion, and create a strong statement for our future.
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