On Thursday, March 2, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss addressed a crowd for the annual State of the City speech, sharing ways to make Grand Rapids stronger.

Racial equity and local business were the hot topics her speech, two major areas, Mayor Bliss believes with a little help, the city could thrive in.

"Our vision is to become a city of empowerment where all residents have equitable access to opportunity," the Mayor, in her second year, said.

Bliss introduced a new Grand Rapids Racial Equity Initiative, a group of organizations Bliss hopes will reduce racial disparities in the city.

"My hope is that there's greater economic opportunity for everyone in our community particularly in areas that have high unemployment," she continued.

Pushing for new employment opportunities and in turn, new business. On Thursday, the city vowed to work more with local businesses.

"Be a tourist in your own city," she told hundreds inside 20 Monroe Live.

The Mayor called on the crowd to take on #GRlocalchallenge, urging people to make a regular effort to shop local.

"Help us continue to grow a culture of kindness and a culture of great respect and support for all of those in our community those who are here today and those who may join us tomorrow."

Bliss also introduced OurCity Academy a program for immigrants that will educate them on how local government and school systems work and how to navigate through them.

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