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Minority groups in Bowling Green working to change city's unlawful discrimination ordinance

Changes they would like to see include liabilities for businesses who do not make an effort to train employees on diversity issues, and de-escalation training.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green City Council is evaluating whether to amend the city's unlawful discrimination ordinance, which minority groups say will help prevent hate crimes and hold people accountable for their actions.

"So what we propose is to examine the system we have right now, propose some ideas on 'how can this be improved?'" said Beatriz Maya, Director of La Conexión in Bowling Green.

La Conexión is a group that works with the Latinx community. It's one of many groups, like Not in Our Town, that are supporting amending the unlawful discrimination ordinance in Bowling Green. Doing so would make the stipulations for those who violate that ordinance more clear cut.

"NIOT BG enthusiastically supports these updates proposed by La Conexión.  We do believe that it is a reasonable request to ask our local businesses to take concrete steps to ensure that everyone feels safe, welcomed and included while on their premises," said co-chair of NIOT Emily Dunipace. 

A few changes they would like to see include liabilities for businesses who do not make an effort to train employees on diversity issues, and de-escalation training.

The call for change on this matter comes following a 2019 incident at the Waffle House in Bowling Green. Two Latino men were attacked while eating by two bystanders inside.

RELATED: Bowling Green continues to discuss how to prevent hate crimes

"The liability would only be if they did nothing to prevent these types of incidents from occurring in their institution," said Maya.

Another detail in the ordinance that could be added is additional ways for hate crimes to be reported. While these incidents can and should be reported to BGPD, some feel there need to be other outlets.

"Cases of discrimination and racism usually go severely underreported. Communities, city's and institutions need to work together," said Maya.

The next reading on this matter is in June and there is no clear timeline when a resolution could happen.