One of the things that I did agree with in installing the greeter desk back in the lobby of city hall is it’s intended emphasis on hospitality. It’s important that we make hospitality a value at the center of our city. Judging by the comments of my fellow councilors who voted in favour of restoring the greeter desk, they seem sincerely concerned about those who grace the doors of city hall and that they are treated with as much hospitality that we can muster no matter what the cost.
In the last few weeks, there has been some really simple suggestions made where we can further show hospitality. This time though, showing it to people who have rarely experienced it throughout history. The LGBTQ+ community has rarely been shown hospitality by our political institutions. Whether it be through direct laws that limit their rights, direct hatred because of their difference or indirect systemic violence that has resulted in way too many of them suffering and dying. Raising a flag and putting in a rainbow crosswalk are small gestures that signal to this community that it is their city too and that their voice and lives matter as much as the elderly person getting lost in the hallways of city hall.
I would hope that my fellow councilors will extend their desire for people to be treated hospitably to those that need it the most and that the city of Sarnia can be a community that is intentionally inclusive of all people. The communities that are making these requests are making them because they know the significance of these gestures and they know how much it will mean to those who have otherwise been ridiculed and discarded for so long. Let’s learn to listen to these voices and start to make the changes necessary so that all people feel welcome and that they matter.