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Gay Rights Advocate Receives Holland Social Justice Award


HOLLAND (WHTC) - A pastor who has been a vocal advocate for expanding Holland’s anti-discrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity has been named a recipient of the city’s Social Justice Award for this year. The Rev. Bill Freeman, who has campaigned for nearly two years to get the City Council to include protection for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons in the ordinance, was selected by the Human Relations Commission as its award recipient in the government/community relations category. The commission honored Freeman for his efforts to create opportunities for people of all faiths to come together on Sundays to worship and learn from each other. He was also recognized for establishing a free breakfast program for the poor on Saturdays. Other Social Justice Award recipients were Tracy Hoesch of the Heights of Hope community organization in the area of housing, Teen Court Program Coordinator Chanda Miller in education, and Ethan King, who started an organization that sends soccer balls to impoverished areas in the U.S. and other countries, is the youth recipient. A ceremony to honor the recipients will be held at the January 16 City Council meeting.