Michigan House of Representatives Adopts Pro-Macedonian Resolution
On December 6, 2005, a group of Macedonians from various Macedonian organizations in the Greater Detroit Area, led by Mary Barton of MPO "Fatherland" – Detroit and recipient of the MPO's Damian Gruev Award in 2005 for her tireless efforts on behalf of the MPO and the Macedonian people, celebrated the adoption of Michigan House of Representatives Resolution 165 which urged the President of the United States and Congress "to support policies that protect and encourage the cultural autonomy of the people of Macedonia, including the rights of Macedonians living throughout the Balkans to speak their language, to attend schools and churches offered in their language, to practice their customs, to be able to call themselves Macedonians, and to be granted all the civil and human rights required by international law."
On December 22, 2005, Representative Chris Ward, the chief sponsor of the resolution and majority floor leader in the Michigan House of Representatives, transmitted copies of the resolution the groups that worked for its adoption at a presentment ceremony attended by representatives of the MPO and all other organizations that worked together on the resolution and the Macedonian Consul in Detroit, Dragan Jordanovski. In comments relayed to the groups by Rep. Ward's External Affairs Director, Sue Dolato, Rep. Ward stated, "It is important that we recognize the countries and people of all nationalities, and their unique customs, languages, and their contributions to society. I am pleased to offer the recognition of the State of Michigan to Macedonia."
Mary and those who worked together with her were able to obtain passage of the Resolution through their willingness to put aside any differences that they may have had in pursuit of a common cause.