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Holland Human Relations Commission Stages "Sessions" on Hate Crimes, Cultural Tolerance


HOLLAND, MI (WHTC) - An incident last June may have been resolved in the courts, but the ripple effects continue to be felt in the Holland community.

An alleged hate crime involving local activist Wayne Coleman was the apparent impetus behind two scheduled town hall meetings on consecutive Mondays at the Herrick District Library. Coleman claimed that he heard two men from Holland’s North Side hurl racial epitaphs as they were vandalizing his parked vehicle. While the two men were eventually captured and reached plea deals with prosecutors, investigators couldn’t prove Coleman’s allegations of any “hate crime” involved.

However, the incident did spark discussion among members of the Holland Human Relations Commission last summer. As a result, the panel will hold a “training session” this evening concerning hate crimes. Members of the state’s Civil Rights Department will be joined by local law enforcement officers in teaching what to look for when such acts occur and how to properly respond. A second session next Monday night deals with “building cultural competence” in the community.

Reservations for both meetings are requested through the city’s Human Relations Commission at 355-1328.