An official opinion statement from Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss in the wake of the Presidential election.
Hello Friends and Neighbors:
Now that a few days have passed since the election, my heart is heavy as I hear from many of our fellow residents who have been subjected to hateful, racist, sexist and/or homophobic comments - comments made to them directly or, worse, to their children.
There is absolutely no excuse for treating individuals this way. I believe we model the behavior we wish to see, especially for the children in our community. I believe we strive to be a welcoming, inclusive and caring community, and when we witness or experience the sort of treatment that many have received this past week, we need to respond.
For individuals you know who have experienced hostility, I hope you make an extra effort to remind them they are welcome here and they are cared for and valued. If you personally are treated poorly, I hope you share your experience with others. Please feel free to contact the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and convey what you have experienced.
And for our children, we have to make every effort to help them feel safe and assure them that such hostility is a rare and unacceptable exception, whether they experience it from a classmate or an adult. There are resources available to support parents and their children, which I am listing below.
I believe we need to support one another - and often doing so is a balancing act between listening and being active. Our friends and neighbors need to know they are supported.
The Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network has an upcoming meeting on November 22 at 1 p.m., and all are welcome to attend to be part of the conversation around how we can be a welcoming and inclusive community. The meeting will take place at LINC's Community Building, 1167 Madison Ave. SE.
Please know I am here for you and will continue to search for ways to be supportive and responsive. Working together, we can make this a great community for everyone.
Your Mayor and Friend,