East Grand Rapids residents and community members,
After recent events across the country and their strong responses, including this weekend’s unrest in our neighboring city of Grand Rapids, I would like to address a few important points.
I have spent much time reflecting not only on the unlawful death of George Floyd but also the innumerable incidents like it.
I support those who participated in the peaceful protest on Saturday — our freedom to voice ourselves is essential and foundational to our country’s rights and values. I stand with those who continue to express their pain, anger and frustration by doing so peacefully. I believe this form of expression can truly influence change.
While I do not condone the destruction that has unfortunately followed protests across the nation, we cannot allow these actions to distract from the larger issue and the desperate pleas of those suffering as a result of the daily persecutions brought by racial injustice.
East Grand Rapids is a privileged community. Not only do most of us have easy access to basic necessities, but we are often able to lead very comfortable lives and have the resources needed to help this movement readily available. Because of this, I am counting on our residents to do their part.
I urge you all to continue educating yourselves on this topic, use our resources, have conversations with your families beyond what your children read in their textbooks about the Civil Rights Movement and work toward unity — not just today, while this topic remains in our headlines, but every day. Starting at home and leading by example makes all the difference.
Please know our Public Safety Department is open and willing to have conversations with any of you on this topic. Our officers are dedicated to strengthening relationships and building trust with our residents and community members and I am proud of the strides they have made.
Due to COVID-19, our last Public Safety Community Engagement Session was canceled. When we are able to resume these sessions safely, I will work with Chief Mark Herald to address the topic of racism and police brutality so we can all have these important discussions and work on improving our community.
There is much work to be done yet. I am hopeful that just as we have been so willing to clean up the smashed windows and vandalized buildings of Grand Rapids, we are ready to clean up the brokenness of our world.
I find that similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, no one is left untouched and everyone has their part to play to rid the world of this even more terrible disease.
Mayor Katie Favale