I wanted to thank Lola Harmon Ramsey for speaking on behalf of the 94 to 98% white population in Newaygo County that she mentioned in her Near North Now piece.
Racism isn’t spoken about in our county because, well, we don’t have a problem, right? There is no problem because we don’t have a big “minority” community, right?
When and how can our communities within our county have an open and honest discussion about diversity, racism and social justice? Racism in Michigan does not live only in our urban areas that have significant numbers of black families. Racism and it’s tragic effects have been occurring since Native Indigenous people were forcefully marched east of the Mississippi, or wiped out through genocide.
Silence does not necessarily mean all is well here. It may mean we don’t even know or comprehend what our Black, Asian, Hispanic, East Indian, Native Indigenous or community members of diverse non-white ethnicities do experience here.
It is up to each of us from the white community to deeply reflect on our own attitudes and prejudices. It is also our responsibility to speak up against fear, racism and ignorance and not wait for people of color in our community to speak up first. Lola’s honesty is the mirror for us all. Thank YOU, Lola, for speaking up.
I call upon our civic, church, business, medical, mental health, social service and school leadership, perhaps with support from the Fremont Area Community Foundation, to help the citizens of our county come together in understanding and exposing both our overt and covert racism. Help us create a community where diversity and social justice are both nurtured, and dealt with honestly.
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