In a visual and verbal affirmation of the official Town of Flower Mound’s dedication to every citizen, Councilman Don McDaniel read a statement of principles prior to the beginning of the Town Council meeting on Monday night.
He was accompanied by a large group of leaders representing various religious, municipal and community groups.
“We, this collection of Flower Mound leadership, stand before you in solidarity to express our dedication to the following principles:
- That every person in our community is an important part of its uniqueness and success;
- That every citizen deserves all the protections and liberties afforded by our constitution;
- That everyone has a right to equal protection under the law and equal opportunity in employment, education and housing;
- That all people deserve equitable treatment regardless of race, religion, age, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation; and,
- That hate, whether in speech, action, or behavior, has no place in our community and that we reject such with no reservation or hesitation.
These principles have always been at the root of what Flower Mound is and will continue to be so.
Each of the organizations that we represent– be it a social group, a place of worship, philanthropy, or civic agency– has these ideals at its core. They are reflected in our mission statements, our texts and our oaths.
We affirm that we will use our roles as leaders in this community and the organizations we represent to promote and act on these principles, at all times, for our residents and anyone in our community.
We ask that you join us in living these principles in your daily life, in your place of worship, in your schools and in your place of employment. Diversity and inclusion– of people, thoughts and ideals– are a fundamental strength of our community and should be fostered and protected by each of us every day. Moreover, we pledge to counter any manifestation of hate in our community with a greater showing of love, kindness and friendship.”
Congregation Kol Ami’s Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis was the first public speaker at the podium following McDaniel’s statement.
“Speaking as an individual, why are we making this statement now?” he asked.
In answering his own question, he said: “It’s a Jewish tradition to answer a question with a question,” and asked: “When was the first time you told someone you love that person? I know the first time you said ‘I love you,’ was not the last time.”
He went on to say that our love of country is also something that deserves to be voiced more than once.
“It was ages ago when someone told me what America was all about,” Dennis said. “‘We take these truths to be self-evident;’ but, it’s important we say it once in a while.”
Shaheed Luqman and Lorraine Sheldon also spoke to support of the town’s official statement.
As a member of Flower Mound’s Baha’i Faith, Sheldon said McDaniel’s statement is what the world-wide religion strives for; to unite all the races and peoples in one common cause and one universal faith.
“I lived in Israel, which is so calm, because of its diversity,” said the Flower Mound native. She added that even though Haifa is surrounded by hostility, the city itself is extremely inclusive.”
“Conduct, more than creed,” said Narayan Srinivasan of how a community is judged.
“Thank you, it was humbling,” said McDaniel of the support his statement received.
“The reason we should love others, is that God loves others,” said council member Jason Webb.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Bryant also expressed his thanks to all the various town leaders who stood with McDaniel as he spoke.
“Tonight was a good night and we haven’t even gotten to tonight’s agenda,” added Council member Bryan Webb. “Tonight, we had a ‘box full of safety pins’ up here [he said referring to the social media movement of wearing a safety pin to show solidarity with those people exposed to hate].”
Mayor Tom Hayden quoted scripture, saying: “We are to love our neighbor as our self.”
Absent from the council meeting was Councilman Itamar Gelbman.