A message to the Village of Lansing Administration

309

Local Voices

Lansing Community Coalition & Concerned Citizens of Lansing

We write to address the following Facebook post made on the Village of Lansing Page on September 24 at 10:06 a.m.:

“In light of the decision out of Louisville, Kentucky yesterday, the Village of Lansing is prepared to take action should any civil unrest potentially affect our community. The Village administration, Lansing Police Department, and the Lansing Public Works Department are all at the ready to take action if and when necessary. The Village has also been in contact with representatives from the offices of multiple elected officials at the regional and state levels who have offered their support and resources if needed. At this time, some barricades are in place at certain WalMart entrances strictly as a preventative measure.”

PAID MESSAGE FROM AN ADVERTISING MEMBER —

Presumably, this post refers to a decision made in Louisville not to charge the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman sleeping in her home. In short, the astounding insensitivity of your statement above has hurt, offended, and angered the Black residents of Lansing and their allies.

You choose to address the gross injustice done to Breonna Taylor as “the decision out of Louisville, Kentucky.” You choose not to #SayHerName, and this choice has been noted by your residents and voters.

When the decision was made to leave all officers responsible for Breonna’s death uncharged, the Black community of Lansing grieved. We still grieve. And the statement on Facebook made it painfully obvious that the administration of the Village of Lansing does not represent nor consider the interests or feelings of the many Black citizens you were elected to represent and serve.

Every time another high-profile act of violence and injustice is inflicted on a Black person, we are forced to grieve in a town where the Black community makes up a substantial percentage of the town’s population, yet the local leaders refuse to say, explicitly, that Black Lives Matter.

We are forced to grieve under an administration who had the perfect opportunity to appoint a qualified Black Trustee and chose not to do so.

We are forced to grieve under leadership that seems more concerned with commenting on the very small percentage of looters from other communities than with showing support for its Black citizens, who have been peaceful in their protests. In her nine-minute address to the community before the June 16 board meeting, Mayor Eidam spent nearly four minutes thanking police and criticizing looters. Mayor Eidam said in her address, “Lansing has been a direct victim of the ugliest aspects of this civil unrest” (the “ugliest aspects” being looters). However, we have also been a victim of the ugliest aspects of police brutality, if we recall 2017, when 15-year-old Jordan Brunson was attacked by an off-duty Lansing police officer, who currently serves on active duty.

How are we supposed to grieve knowing these things?

In her address to the community, the word “Black” did not leave Mayor Eidam’s mouth. The issue is not between “police and the public.” “The public” does not suffer from targeted and sanctioned police violence on a systemic level. The public does not walk the streets, terrified of being stopped and frisked. The public does not have to sit their children down and explain to them how to navigate interactions with police so they make it out alive.

We call on the leadership of Lansing to address the reality of the situation with authentic sensitivity. A large portion of your community grieves. As our leaders, you have done little, if anything, to express concern, compassion, or solidarity with us. The Black community of Lansing looks to you, our leadership, to clearly acknowledge your Black citizens, our concerns, our interests, and the importance of increased sensitivity moving forward.

We call on you to publicly address the Black community, affirm that Black Lives Matter, and express your intentions to improve Lansing’s interracial relations by implementing a citizen’s review board with the support of the Lansing Community Coalition and Concerned Citizens of Lansing.

Submitted Respectfully and in Solidarity,
• Lansing Community Coalition
• Concerned Citizens of Lansing

About the authors

The Lansing Community Coalition and the Concerned Citizens of Lansing are two separately organized groups. The Lansing Community Coalition was formed in August 2017 during the mediation process for the Memorandum of Understanding. President Elvis Slaughter says, “We are a diverse group representing Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics in the village of Lansing.” Roberto Mendoza is the Coalition’s Sergeant of Arms.

The Concerned Citizens of Lansing group is led by President Daniel Stellfox and Vice President Tre’sean Hall, representing 200+ allied supporting members.

People interested in dialoguing with Lansing Community Coalition can reach them at the contact info below:


Local Voices is our version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Send your submissions to The Lansing Journal with “Voices” in the subject line.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The Jordan Brunson who was selling drugs and brought a gun to that officers house. The Jordan Brunson who tried to attack the officer. The Jordan Brunson who was driving 90MPH down a side street and flipped his car injuring people. We need to come together where everyone is treated the same and facts not based on when a police officer is white and a citizen is black. We as Lansing our better then this.

  2. WOW! I felt every word of this and I do hope that the leaders of Lansing will read it and respond accordingly. It’s often easier to focus on the negative (looters) instead of praising positive conduct/ actions and peaceful protests/marches right here by the citizens of Lansing. May these words shared challenge all of us to look deeper.

  3. Although I agree with 95% of everything said in this article, I thought it should be noted that neighbors on my street that are black, offered to sell me several boxes of Nike shoes only hours after Shoe Carnival was looted at the end of May. So to say that people that are non residents of Lansing are to blame for these things is not entirely accurate. Just wanted to point out that although there are many injustices in our society, the information put out there needs to be accurate when presenting information. Peace to Lansing !

  4. The only thing mentioned in this whole article and reader comments to which there is concern is the word grief, grieving, and saddened used multiple times. Grief is a very personal process for which there are steps that take those that have lost from denial to acceptance. No one person on the face of this earth can do or give anything to stem the flow of grief. It is something a human being must go through personally. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross coined the five stages of death and dying as denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. What was once a process for loss of human life has now become synonymous with all loss whether it be a job, relationships or dwelling. Demanding something in return for bypassing any stage in the process does not complete the process. Expecting this to happen only leaves the bereaved stuck in one stage or another. Acceptance does not mean to like something that happened. Acceptance means we agree it happened, and then–only then, can healing begin for all those involved. After acceptance, forgiveness can prevail.

    God doesn’t change circumstances no matter how hard I pray yet he will draw me nearer to him thereby raising me above my circumstances. This is the acceptance that binds mankind together. This is so because He first forgave us through Jesus Christ. All have a choice. If it is not in God’s will for you, ask Him what his will is. This is true freedom. Freedom from what this world offers.

    Pray for ourselves and each other without ceasing. This is what is needed. In Jesus name, amen.

  5. In my humble opinion, there was nothing wrong with the Village of Lansing’s statement. They are smart to keep it generalized around the incident in Louisville versus sounding for or against an issue. The people complaining appear to be upset that the Village did not add support for George Floyd, etc. It is not the Village’s place to take sides on something in another city. There was absolutely nothing wrong with their statement and some people are making it out to be something it’s not. Just my opinion. Thank you.

  6. I hope the mayor and her administration listen to the voices of the African American community in Lansing. Having said that, African Americans consist of about 40% of the population and will be 50% or more in the near future. The mayor had two opportunities to appoint an African American to a vacant trustee position. Not only that, she continued to overlook qualified minorities, especially African Americans for vital positions on various boards and positions within the police department. Although minorities combined are over 50% of the population in Lansing, they hold 0% to 5% of employment, business contracts, and board positions other than the HRC, which has no power or authority. She had almost four years to fix this.

  7. Anyone resident within the Village of Lansing is free to run for any Lansing elected position within the village and should do so if they feel they have a position which a majority of residents will support.

Comments are closed.