Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lansing to create racial equity, anti-racism fund

June 9, 2020
<p>Paul Birdsong speaks with Lansing Mayor Andy Schor outside Schor&#x27;s house after Birdsong led a group of protesters on a two-mile march from the Capitol to the mayor&#x27;s house June 6, 2020. Schor was not home when the group arrived.</p>

Paul Birdsong speaks with Lansing Mayor Andy Schor outside Schor's house after Birdsong led a group of protesters on a two-mile march from the Capitol to the mayor's house June 6, 2020. Schor was not home when the group arrived.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

Remaining funds totaling $170,000 in the current fiscal year (FY 2019-20) are set to be moved from the Lansing City Council budget into a new Racial Equity and Anti-Racism Fund, Lansing officials announced on Monday.

Mayor Andy Schor, Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green, and Human Relations and Community Services Director Kim Coleman announced the new funding allocation in a joint statement. This fiscal year ends on June 30.

“We are committed to supporting racial equity and anti-racism initiatives that address human relations, youth development activities and training in the community," Coleman said in the press release. "As we move forward with this important work, we look forward to seeking input from our community.”

There is also a proposal to repurpose $20,000 from previously budgeted dollars for racial equity work through My Brother’s Keeper. Along with the Girls Equity Network, the network works to improve outcomes for youth of color.

“It's important for the City of Lansing to invest in making sure we are a safe, inclusive and equitable community," Schor said in the press release. "Even though our current fiscal year ends at the end of this month, I think it's important that we put a down payment on this commitment right now, and I want to hear from residents about how and where we should make additional investments for the future. I look forward to your help, input and guidance."

The Lansing Police Department also proposed adding an additional $100,000 into this fund. This is almost .23% of the total police department budget for the fiscal year.

“The Lansing Police Department fully supports the Mayor in establishing a racial equity and anti-racism fund," Green said in the press release. "We stand ready and willing to help the community that we serve, and if that means dedicating department funds to specific community needs, we are on board.”

The Lansing Department of Human Relations and Community Services will end the year with a $50,000 excess, which is also proposed to be put in this fund.

The release said that Capitol National Bank volunteered to rally businesses to provide additional dollars as well.

"The heavy lifting of realizing racial equity in our city is not just the job of one entity, but rather the collective work of many," Ed Harden, president of Capitol National Bank, said in the statement.

This proposal for a new fund was sent to the Lansing City Council for consideration. Council President Peter Spadafore and Vice President Adam Hussain have both given support to put this fund before the council.

Many members of the public said during the meeting on Monday that they are not satisfied with only $170,000 going toward this fund. Multiple public commentors called for Schor to resign and for Lansing to defund the police force.

During the public comments section of the meeting, Paul Birdsong spoke to the council while he and many others protested on the highway in Lansing. Birdsong along with many other protesters called for Schor to resign.

"Andy Schor came and made a mockery of us by offering $100,000 to fix all of these problems yesterday, and then today he dropped it to $75,000," Birdsong said. "It was insulting for him to say $100,000 in the first place. Then he lied to us to our face when we asked him about the budget. He said he had no ideas, no plans or nothing concerning the budget."

Paperwork to remove Schor must be submitted by July 31 in order to appear on the ballot in November.

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