Grateful for Conversation

To the Editor,

I know Red Lodge as a town that is full of kind, warm, and accepting people, but I also know that we still have much work to do to make all of our friends and neighbors feel welcomed and included. I work with young people in Red Lodge.

Over the years I have had teenagers reach out to tell me that they didn’t feel like their presence was appreciat- ed by some community members simply for the fact that they are different.

I know of LGBT people who were treated poorly right here in our town. Their stories break my heart. The City of Red Lodge’s proposed Nondiscrimination Resolution is a necessary gesture that demonstrates to all community members that we are trying to be better.

I understand that there are religious objections to the Nondiscrimination Resolution. I would argue, as a religious person myself that we give up nothing by agreeing not to discriminate. In fact, I would argue that we would be more deeply living the tenets of our faith if we treat all people as we would like to be treated (and few of us, I believe, would ever want to be discriminated against!).

Maya Angelou wrote, “Prejudice is a burden that con- fuses the past, threatens the future and renders the pres- ent inaccessible.” Let us not make the warmth of Red Lodge inaccessible to anyone. Let us be people who are not burdened with any prejudice. May we be better.

I am grateful the City Council has opened this conversation.

Sincerely,

Travis Burdick

Red Lodge