Local Clubs – One Buchanan

Hope of One Buchanan

Collaboration of Monroe Lemay & Rebecka Hoyt

One Buchanan is now a public initiative advancing Buchanan as a city that welcomes and cares for all people irrespective of race, religion, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation. Founded in 2016, the first forum held in 2018 introduced One Buchanan to the community. The next One Buchanan Forum held in November 2018 focused on Native American issues. In February 2019, One Buchanan held their third forum celebrating Black History. In January of 2021, under the advisement of newly hired city manager Heather Grace, the City of Buchanan adopted One Buchanan as a city board. This move enabled the organization to move forward and continue with their programming for the Buchanan community. With the help of the city, One Buchanan can now apply for grants and receive sponsorships and donations. One Buchanan is responsible for their own budget and currently does not receive taxpayers’ funds to operate.

The One Buchanan Initiative will help ensure that the city slogan of “Life is better here” will apply to everyone who chooses to call Buchanan their home, and that all will be welcomed as residents of the community and not considered outsiders. Both community residents and community leaders have joined hands to organize this effort to see diversity as a strength and as a part of American Values. In a recent conversation, Editor Rebecka Hoyt had the opportunity to sit down with a couple of One Buchanan committee members: Monroe Lemay and Adam Burck. “Our hope is to see the progress we are making in Buchanan get picked up and adopted by all municipalities in Berrien County, and then become a statewide philosophy for the State of Michigan” says Monroe Lemay. Adam Burck, Executive Director of the Buchanan Area Senior Center, where One Buchanan met prior to the pandemic, states: “If we don’t acknowledge that citizens in our community feel marginalized or that they’re not being treated equally, it’s not right, and we are not doing our job as responsible citizens.”

One Buchanan has five board members representing leaders in the community who meet quarterly to make the major decisions. Currently, One Buchanan has fourteen committee members who do the leg work for the many different events and meet monthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month via zoom, until it is safe to meet in person. A remarkably diverse collection of individuals fill both the board and committee, and they are always welcoming new members to join. The organization is currently represented by individuals from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths, as well as Buchanan’s African American community, the LGBTQ community, seniors, and persons of disability. They are seeking individuals from Native American, Asian, and Latino communities as members to further the rich mixture of the committee. The diversity and culture of Buchanan is rich because many people of many different backgrounds have made Buchanan their home. Despite these differences, all residents are unified by their common identity as one people. We are One Buchanan. We are a community that cares. We are everyone. We are you.

One Buchanan concentrates on educating the community on the diverse community we live in. The organization feels that by informing the city and its surrounding area of who lives in our neighborhoods, we stand the chance to be more tolerant and understanding of one another. One of the ways the organization has chosen to inform the public is by holding a variety of forums throughout the year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the organization is conducting their public forums virtually through One Buchanan’s Facebook Live events and One Buchanan YouTube channel. On March 6th they launched the first of a two-part Mental Health Series devoted to how to help Buchanan citizens cope with the difficulties of the pandemic. To date, the recorded forum has seen more than 900 views.

Mental Health Forum Part I March 6 Flyer

May is Mental Health Month

One Buchanan’s Next Event:

Mental Health Forum Part II – COVID-19 : Impact on the Family ~ Solutions for now, Lessons for later

  • Sunday May 2, 2021 2-4pm
  • Panel members will be clinicians from the Andrews University Psychology Department
  • Moderated by Dr. Harvey J. Burnett
  • Hosted by the Buchanan Area Senior Center
  • Two-part Forum made possible by a grant from Michigan Gateway Community Foundation
  • Randy Hendrixson, owner of DPM Events was hired to stream the event live on One Buchanan Facebook and Youtube channel
  • The first part of this forum can still be viewed by clicking on the following links: https://fb.me/e/1mJpA93rJ and http://youtu.be/IKsLI9Kw_rg

One Buchanan participates and partners with other organizations in town to help bring awareness to social and economic issues. You will always see them at the Memorial Day Parade and the National Night Out against Crime. Recently they have partnered with Redbud Area Ministries and the Buchanan Area Senior Center (BASC drop off point) to raise awareness and to solicit donations for personal hygiene, cleaning supplies, and paper products to fill the shelves of Buchanan’s local pantry when needed. These are items that cannot be purchased with Food Stamps.

RAM personal items donations

Simultaneously they also partnered up with the Buchanan’s Little Free Pantry and the City of Buchanan (City Hall drop off point) to bring awareness of food insecurity and to solicit donations for our families in need. These projects will continue to run throughout the pandemic and as long as these items are needed.

One Buchanan / Little Free Pantry / City of Buchanan Donations Initiative

The Buchanan District Library has asked One Buchanan to partner up with them for an upcoming Fall event called “One Book One Buchanan,” a community wide book club concentrating on diversity and inclusion. CASTE – The Origins of our Discontents by, Isabel Wilkerson, is the book that they have chosen and is also a #1 book on diversity. (Link to book on Amazon) “This book includes an important message that I hope everyone can hear with an open and curious mind,” says Adam Burck. More details will come later.

For more information on One Buchanan, or if you have an interest in joining the committee or volunteering on special events, please contact the organization at weareonebuchanan@gmail.com.

%d bloggers like this: