Letter: Protection and respect for all

I applaud the leadership of Deputy Mayor Jessie Kiehl for putting forward an ordinance that would provide important protection for all residents of Juneau. Ordinance 2016-23 ensures that LGBTQ members of our community would be granted the same protections against discrimination as anyone else. I am grateful to the Assembly for hearing this ordinance and also to the community members who provided important public testimony. Thank you all for your vision and commitment to justice.

The time to enact this ordinance is now.

I have worked as a school counselor and teacher in Alaska for the past 33 years and know what it means for students to feel that their school and community support them. When we honor and celebrate young people for who they are, they flourish. When we match our support and care for students with laws that protect them from discrimination, we give them solid opportunities to succeed.

The Juneau School District’s non-discrimination policy provides protection for all students. Our students should be assured the same protections as they go out in the wider community. Indeed, all people of any age deserve the same basic protections against discrimination that we afford our children.

Juneau can be a beacon in Alaska for honoring inclusive community. Beginning with our children, we can celebrate our commonalities and our differences. Everyone flourishes in a community that values kindness and respect for all.

Annie Caulfield