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Mayor releases Lansing's Racial Justice and Equity report

11 people apply to fill vacated Ward 1 Lansing City Council seat
Posted at 6:13 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 19:45:54-04

LANSING, Mich. — A report commissioned by the Mayor’s office to address racial justice in Lansing is officially complete. A final report with the findings was released Wednesday.

The 26-page report surveyed hundreds of people, asking all kinds of questions about racial justice, diversity and inclusion in the city.

To conduct the report, several teams looked at many areas under the racial justice umbrella including training, communities and neighborhoods, health and environmental justice, arts and culture, education, and more.

One of the concerns of the respondents was the city’s fire department and its perceived lack of diversity.

Other concerns included a “cancel culture environment” meaning city employees who disagreed with something, or someone were routinely dismissed or silenced.

They also looked at issues of public health, and how to better prioritize the health and wellness of persons of color.

“We don’t value health until illness comes. We don’t value those communities and their health until it affects our community, until it affects our economy, until it affects so many other things,” Linda Vail of the Ingham County Health department.

Linda Vail co-chairs the sub-committee on health and environmental justice - one of the groups who helped with the report. They found there's a lack of education and community awareness around health-related resources.

Kim Coleman is the director of human relations and community services for the city. She says unveiling the report is step one, but there are many steps still to come.

“We need to identify key players, our partners. We need to look at the infrastructure. What kind of technology we’ll need. What kind of additional training and support will be required?,” said Kim Coleman.

Some members of the Lansing community are concerned about the reasons for conducting the report, questioning if it was commissioned for the right reasons.

“It's pretty much all we’ve seen out of him in the last year. It's been reactionary and really setting up for the election,” said community activist, Michael Lynn.

Still, Mayor Andy Schor says the city has already started to chip away at some of the plan's action items.

“There are some short-term items we can work on. We’ve created out DEI officer. That’s done, check. We’re going to be creating a board of the city. The city needs to have an institutionalized group of residents and folks who can work on this,” said Schor.

Two weeks ago, Lansing’s City Council approved allocating $300,000 dollars toward implementing the Racial Justice and Equity plan.

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Tianna Jenkins

12:23 PM, Jan 12, 2021
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