By Brian Freiberger
The best way to teach communities about housing discrimination is “through the kids,” said board chair Bonnie Granado of the Fair Housing Project of Southwest Michigan. She was talking about a poster contest and pizza party held for two fifth-grade classes at Vickburg’s Indian Lake Elementary School.
The project aims to prevent discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, age, marital status or disability while also providing education and outreach to communities, according to Granado.
First place winner of the contest Lilly Campbell’s poster is pictured here showing equality for protected classes. “I thought it was pretty good,” said Campbell about her artwork.
The winner of the contest is the student who can fit the most symbols of protected classes in a poster, according to Granado.
Art teacher Jake Biernacki at Indian Lake described the program as an effort to “educate to stomp out any discrimination.” Biernacki has been working with the project for 10 years.
Fair Housing has held the same poster contest at Vicksburg’s Sunset and Tobey Elementary schools. Tobey held the contest on May 15. The first-place winner there was fifth grader Carter Johnson. Sunset’s results were not determined by press time.
“Everyone should be treated fairly. Equal opportunity is our main goal,” said Granado.
The contest has been organized by volunteers Alicia McGrath and Pat Moreno with Biernacki and Granado.
The Fair Housing Project started in the early 1990’s with a vision. According to the project’s website, “All people should be empowered to claim their right to equal treatment in housing choice.”
The Fair Housing Act became law in 1968 to deter government and private entities such as landlords and real estate brokers from discriminatory practices. If you feel you’ve been a victim of housing discrimination, please contact the Center of Fair Housing in Southwest Michigan located at 405 W Michigan Ave. Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007.