#DoSomething is a new comprehensive accountability campaign by LINC UP tracking the city’s fulfillment of the promises to advance racial equity and living report cards of that progress, or lack thereof. Be it by reforming policing, preserving and creating affordable housing, or ensuring resident voice and input in the hiring of the new Grand Rapids City Manager, join LINC in demanding that your leaders #DoSomething.

Stay up to date on #DoSomething developments. Text LINCUP to 43506 for community alerts.

 

 

 

 


A Call for Leaders to Listen When Residents Speak: #DOSOMETHING

For years, residents and community organizations alike have cried out for change, stormed city commission meetings, rallied in the streets, drawing eyes and ears to the world-class community in moments of embarrassing blunder or weakness. The news headlines across the region and the country over time have highlighted troubling failures in the systems that govern and impact residents' day-to-day lives; spanning from little black boys being held at gunpoint to little black girls being frisked, handcuffed, questioned and detained in the back of patrol cars and even dire economic racial disparity.


These failures are more than frustrating—they are unacceptable. And they are preventable.

In policing, city leaders respond in times of crisis promising change and voicing feeble apologies for the continued excessive use of force against children, the racial inequity in traffic encounters, and the general tension between police and communities of color; but simply resign themselves to continue the painstakingly slow cycle of delegating discussion on the problems, studying the problems and consulting experts on the problem—rarely taking immediate strides to actually solve the problem with the initial community-crafted solution. The pillars of hope that residents looked to for reform and protection from the rampant racial discrimination in policing (the 12 Point Plan, the Lamberth Traffic Stop Study Recommendations, the SAFE Task Force Recommendations, the Community Listening Sessions Recommendations, etc) have all been adopted, but all failed to have been fully implemented--and the horrible incidences that led to them could still occur again today with the same consequences or lack thereof.

When it comes to city administration, leaders promise residents the chance to be apart of integral decisions that will shape the future of the community by prioritizing resident input in the hiring process for the new City Manager but have found themselves once again failing to adequately do so; leading to outcry from residents to begin the process again to increase transparency, community input, and the quality of the final candidates. The three proposed candidates lacked the proven track record in racial equity to enstill confidence in their ability to lead the city in matters of community-police relations, affordable housing and economic development. The City Commission decided to #DOSOMETHING about it and voted to restart the search process for the next Grand Rapids City Manager but this process will take time. We must continue to move forward.

There is a name for this toxic perpetual mild incrementalism; it’s managerial racism.

As evidenced by the history of social justice progress in this city, or the lack thereof, it is clear that real disruptive change that advances racial equity (not just paying it lip-service) will require outright intentionality. It will require residents acting as the watchdogs of their elected officials, reminding them of the promises that they’ve made, holding them accountable for fulfilling those promises, and expecting them to do so in a realistic and timely manner. It's acknowledging that if the city exercised the same fervor for advancing racial equity that it expresses for seeing a return on investment in downtown development or along the Michigan medical corrridor, racial disparities would be resolved by now.

It's time to #DOSOMETHING! Join the movement.

 


GR City Commission Decides to #DOSOMETHING; Resets City Manager Search

 

pictured: First Round Finalists for City Manager L to R: Jane Bais-DiSessa, James Freed and Carol Mitten

 

The Grand Rapids City Commission has a duty to select final candidates with track-record, vision, and an exhibited affinity for advancing racial equity. Yet, the three finalists presented as potential administrators, lacked just that. From candidates failing to demonstrate a basic understanding of equity to others with a history of attempting to improve community relations by expanding the police force, the city of Grand Rapids can do better.

After hearing concerns from residents about both the process and quality of the candidates, the Grand Rapids City Commission decided to #DOSOMETHING about it and voted to restart the process. Thanks goes to each and every one of you for your passion, promotion and petition-signing support! This decision demonstrates true commitment to finding the best candidate for the position; a critical step to equip the city to move forward with its agenda to advance racial equity around issues such as community-police relations, affordable housing, and more.

This means the work is not done. It is only just beginning.

We need a City Manager as soon as possible. We need a process that allows residents the time and opportunity to get to know the finalists and make an informed decision with elected officials that ensures Grand Rapids continues to move in the right direction. But we can not let a reset in this process mean a delay on the many initiatives already underway for the city. Important steps must be taken, even now under an interim administrator, that promote improved accountability for the Grand Rapids Police Department, enhancing affordable housing in the city of Grand Rapids with initiatives like Housing NOW! and stronger efforts to engage residents in the developments happening in their neighborhoods. Full implementation of the adopted 12 Point Plan, Lamberth Traffic Study Recommendations, SAFE Task Force Recommendations and others should be happening NOW. Policy ensuring that neighborhoods maintain their character and integrity as they grow to accommodate new people and places should be happening NOW. And we need to remind Grand Rapids leaders to continue to #DoSomething to promote progress in every area.

This is not the time to step back. Continue to create the community that you want to live, work and thrive in.

It's time to #DOSOMETHING! Join the movement.

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The Failed Promises to Improve Policing

Grand Rapids stands at a crucial turning point. The problem is clear. LINC Up has been a first-hand actor and spectator to the constant cycle of community outrage at negative policing practices, followed by collective outcry to city government, followed by grave apology by city leaders and the appointment of a board/commission/task force/consulting study where recommendations are made and only some of them are acted on. This unfortunate cycle repeats over and over again lacking true action and merely perpetuating the work of studying, noting, conversing and recording ad nauseum. After YEARS of the city of Grand Rapids facilitating conversation, soliciting resident input and collecting/adopting recommendations, LINC calls for a new wave of accountability and follow-through on the following plans to improve policing:

Report Card

Plan/Initiative Adoption Date Status

12 Point Plan

January 2015 Incomplete
SAFE Task Force Recommendations March 2015 Incomplete
Lamberth Traffic Stop Study Recommendations April 2015 Incomplete
Community Feedback/Listening Sessions August 2017 Incomplete

 

 

It's time to #DOSOMETHING! Join the movement.

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