NASHVILLE, TN. ( January 13, 2009 )- The members of the Metro Human Relations Commission have reiterated their opposition to ongoing efforts to amend the Metro Charter to designate English as the official language of Metropolitan Government which has the potential to disenfranchise thousands of Nashvillians. “While the proposed charter amendment may appear innocent at first blush, Metro government’s inability to constructively dialogue with its constituents in languages other than English would undermine longstanding efforts to create an inclusive community where all can contribute,” said Kelvin Jones, Executive Director of the Commission.
The 16 member Commission, all appointed by the Mayor, confirmed by the Metropolitan Council and representative of a broad cross section of the Nashville Community, is tasked with the responsibility to provide community-wide education to reduce discrimination in employment, housing, financial services and public accommodations as well as to assist efforts to promote respect for diversity, encourage improved race relations and address issues of community concern.
“ The effort to amend the Metro Charter to designate English as the official language of Metropolitan Government is a wedge issue which has the ability to jeopardize Nashville’s place as one of the country’s most desirable communities in which to live, work and play. This effort is divisive, creating an “us” and a “them” and creates a mean and intolerant image which is not reflective of the great city Nashville truly is; we are much better than this,” according to Jones.
“The Metro Human Relations Commission is committed to working with community leaders and stakeholders who are likewise invested in creating and protecting “One City for All People” .