JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — The LGBT community in a mid-Michigan city now has a place to call its own.
6 News was there as the Jackson Pride Center had its grand opening Friday afternoon.
It was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, representing a big step forward for the Jackson LGBT community.
“I thought our community needed a safe place,” said Nikki Joly, Director of the Jackson Pride Center.
The center comes together thanks to a grant through the United Center for Caring at St. John’s United Church of Christ, where the pride center is located.
“There’s a lot of negativity going on right now nationally, and locally. The more love we can spread, the more support we can spread in the community, the more we can bring people together,” said Barb Shelton of United Center for Caring at St. John’s.
It will be a place for the LGBT community to make connections and find resources.
The goal is to have a safe meeting space for people of all ages, especially youth and parent groups.
This opening is happening during a prideful time for Jackson, just one week after the city council approved the LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.
It’s now illegal in the city of Jackson to discriminate against anyone for housing, employment, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Organizers say the non-discrimination ordinance vote and the pride center opening shows Jackson is evolving.
“I think it’s super encouraging, I think Jackson is on a different tangent,” Shelton said. “Jackson is not as conservative as people think it is.”
They’re celebrating now, but there’s still more work to do.
“Maintaining our local community support, and letting our city council know that wasn’t the only issue we’re concerned with in the city of Jackson,” Jolly said.
The pride center will be open Wednesday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.