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Harper Woods leaders pass resolution to address racism, injustice

City officials adopt new framework to address social issues following controversies

HARPER WOODS, Mich. – Following the police killing of Black Minneapolis man George Floyd in May, the city of Harper Woods has been working to address racial injustice in the community.

Over the summer, separate controversies led to the resignation of the Harper Woods mayor, and the firing of the city’s deputy police chief.

Harper Woods city leaders recently said that they have approved a resolution in hopes of taking positive steps in the right direction.

“We recognize that it’s time," said Councilwoman Ernestine Lyons. “It’s time. We want to make sure we are on the right side of history when having the conversation about issues that really matter and giving teeth to true systemic strides for true justice.”

Councilwoman Lyons said that addressing racism and injustice in Harper Woods is more than enough reason to adopt a new resolution.

“We really wanted to show that we’re being really progressive and trying to move the needle forward," Lyons said. “(We’re) trying to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard ... and that there’s no discrimination in our city.”

During a recent virtual city council meeting, all six Harper Woods City Council members voted in favor of the resolution. Part of the resolution states that the mayor and city council members are committed to fair, transformative and restorative actions and policies that are accountable to their community. The leaders will are also committing to eliminating racism and other forms of injustice under the resolution.

Harper Woods has faced its share of racial and social issues -- particularly the recent death of a woman who died while in police custody in June. Priscilla Slater was later found to have died from natural causes, but officials say this resolution was in the works way before her death.

“It was right after Mr. Floyd’s death, which affected all of us tremendously," said Valerie Kindle, Harper Woods Mayor. “That could’ve been my child. My son is the same age. I just felt so moved that, as a city, we needed to do something to make sure that everyone knew that (Harper Woods) felt that every life matters; black lives matter."

The city of Harper Woods is also planning on incorporating educational and racial diversity training within the city’s departments -- including community policing within the local police department.


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