DATE: June 10, 2020
TO: Mayor Bliss and Commissioners
FROM: Mark A. Washington, City Manager
SUBJECT: Police Reform
Our community shares the international frustration and anger over the murder of George Floyd and the systemic racism and oppression that continues to exist. We must now continue the work of undoing the system of inequality and racism that has plagued our communities for many generations.
While realizing we have more work to do, it is also important to note this community has made progress in some key areas:
I continue to listen to members of our community speak of their desire for more progress while engaging the very talented and committed staff in our organization. We recognize the need to embrace new ideas, methods, and approaches that may have been uncomfortable in the past. Since racial inequities have been historically part of our society, the City continues to make a conscious choice to prioritize equity and inclusion. I have been very deliberate in considering feedback from the Mayor, Commissioners, community and staff. Today I am bringing forward proposed changes and improvements that are aligned with our vision for Grand Rapids to be nationally recognized as an equitable, welcoming, innovative and collaborative city with a robust economy, safe and healthy community, and the opportunity for a high quality of life for all.
As you are aware, we have one more town hall meeting tonight, and I look forward to providing a briefing on these matters on June 16 at the morning Committee of the Whole meeting and share any additional updates. Let me know if you have questions.
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