At its Tuesday meeting, the Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously passed a resolution that puts it on the record as “adamantly opposing the misleading” Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) and encouraging the County and other area townships and cities to pass similar resolutions opposing the MCRI. The text of the resolution not only objects to the MCRI in because of its policy consequences of limiting diversity and equal opportunity, but also because—in an interesting application of its new Sustainability Plan—is “contrary” to the aims of that plan. The media’s coverage of the resolution—both before and after its passage—focused primarily on the legal question of whether or not the City Commission can take a position on state ballot initiatives rather than explaining why the City Commission was opposed to the MCRI.
The resolution as passed by the City Commission:
Whereas, the City of Grand Rapids in all of its official policies and statements has officially supported fighting racism, sexism, and any kind of bigotry in our community; and
Whereas, the City of Grand Rapids wishes to provide leadership to erase the insidious effects of racism and sexism and seeks to promote harmony among diverse citizens; and
Whereas, the ethnic heritage, gender, and social background of every individual has value and must not be diminished, ignored, or ridiculed; and
Whereas, government has a proactive responsibility to ensure equal treatment of all citizens and to create an environment of respect and equal opportunity for all citizens; and
Whereas, the character and economic strength of any community is ultimately defined by its ability to include a diverse population; and
Whereas, the “so called” Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) ballot proposal would interfere, threaten, and eliminate many programs, policies, and strategies that currently provide diversity in educational institutions and in the workplace; and
Whereas, the MCRI ballot proposal would be harmful to government, businesses, our economy, and the State of Michigan as a whole; and
Whereas, the MCRI Ballot proposal is contrary to our Sustainability Plan and its triple bottom line and inconsistent with our officially adopted Racial Justice Institute’s Covenant for Racial Justice;
Resolved, that the Grand Rapids City Commission does hereby go on record as adamantly opposing the misleading named Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, urge voters to oppose its passage, and call upon the County of Kent and all cities and townships throughout West Michigan to join us in opposing this ballot proposal that threatens the equitable treatment of persons who live and work in our state.